(1.)By reason of this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the writ petitioners herein have questioned the validity of an order dated 24th September, 1991 as also one dated 16th October, 1991 issued by the Special Secretary, Goverment of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, whereby and whereunder a direction had been issued to the effect that at the time of payment of bills for publication of Government advertisements in all newspapers having a circulation of more than 25,000 copies, 5% of the amount thereof, forming part of a fund for the purpose of granting pension to the working journalists, would be deducted.
(2.)Petitioner No. 1 herein is a company incorporated under the Companies Act and is engaged in the business of publishing newspapers including 'The Hindustan Times'. Petitioner No. 2 is a shareholder of Petitioner No. 1 and Petitioner No. 3 is its Director.
(3.)The petitioners have questioned the legality/validity of the said orders, inter alia, on the following grounds :
1. The impost, is not leviable either as a tax or as a fee having regard to the fact that the legislative field in relation to the payment of retiral benefits to the working journalists is covered by a Parliamentary Act known as the Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 ('the said Act').
2. As the State of Uttar Pradesh had no legislative competence, it could not have issued the impugned orders in exercise of its power under Article 162 of the Constitution of India or otherwise.
3. Assuming that welfare of the working journalists is a field falling within Entry 24 of List III of the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India, any State legislation would be the subject to the Central legislation and in that view of the matter too, the impugned orders are ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution.