To the extent of repugnancy, it will be void. Clause (2) of Article 254 provides that where a law made by a State Legislature with respect to a matter in the Concurrent List contains any provisions repugnant to the provisions of an earlier parliamentary law or existing law with respect to that matter, then the State law will prevail in the State provided it has been reserved for the President’s consideration and has received his assent.
This clause is an exception to the general rule embodied to the clause (1) of Article 254 as detailed above. A proviso to clause (2) provides that nothing in clause (2) shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or respecting the law so made by the State Legislature.
In M. Kamnanidhi vs. Union of India, AIR 1979 S.C. 898. Fazal All. J. of the Supreme Court had analysed all earlier decisions and summarised the test of repugnancy. According to him a repugnancy would arise between the two statutes of the State and the Union in the following situations:
(1) It must be shown that there is clear and direct inconsistency between the two enactments (Union Act and State Act) which is irreconcilable, so that they cannot stand together or operate in the same field.
(2) There can be no repeal by implication unless the inconsistency appears on the face of the two statutes.
(3) Where the two statutes occupy a particular field, but there is room or possibility of both the statutes operating in the same field without coming into collision with each other, no repugnancy results.
(4) Where there is no inconsistency but the statute occupying the same field seeks, to create distinct and separate offences, no question of repugnancy arises and both the statutes continue to operate in the same field.
The above rule of repugnancy is however subject to the exception provided in clause (2) of Article 254, which has been discussed above.