Aad­haar as Money Bill: SC to Hear Case at Length

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Mon­day ten­ta­tively agreed with the govern­ment’s stand that the Aad­haar amend­ment bill was a money bill as cer­ti­fied by the Lok Sabha speaker, but de­cided to hear the is­sue at length at a later date be­fore rul­ing on it.

A money bill es­sen­tially negates the power of the Ra­jya Sabha to force any change in the bill, as the Lok Sabha can over­ride any ob­jec­tions raised by the Up­per House of Par­lia­ment, where cur­rently the op­po­si­tion has ma­jor­ity.

“Ten­ta­tively, we are not with you,” a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Jus­tice of In­dia JS Khe­har told se­nior ad­vo­cate P Chi­dambaram af­ter a short hear­ing on Ra­jya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh’s plea, chal­leng­ing the Lok Sabha speaker’s de­ci­sion to have the Aad­haar bill passed by the Lok Sabha as a money bill. The CJI, how­ever, said Chi­dambaram could prove oth­er­wise at a de­tailed hear­ing to be sched­uled af­ter four weeks.

The for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter pointed out that Ramesh had sug­gested sev­eral amend­ments to the bill, but these had been over­rid­den as it was money bill on which the Lok Sabha has the up­per hand. The CJI did not seem in­clined to ac­cept his views on the sub­ject. In­stead, go­ing by at­tor­ney gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi’s sub­mis­sion that the ob­ject & the pre­am­ble to the bill clearly in­di­cated that it was a money bill. “The bill with­draws funds from the Con­sol­i­dated Fund of In­dia. It is nec­es­sary for good gov­er­nance. It is in­tended to en­sure tar­geted de­liv­ery of PDS. It has saved thou­sands of crores by way of sub­si­dies,” the AG con­tended. At one point, Khe­har won­dered aloud if the Ra­jya Sabha had writ­ten to the Lok Sabha stat­ing that it was not a money bill.

He, how­ever, shot down the AG’s ar­gu­ment that courts can­not ex­am­ine the le­gal­ity of the speaker’s de­ci­sion to cer­tify that a par­tic­u­lar bill was a money bill.

Money bill negates Ra­jya Sabha’s pow­ers to force any change in a bill, as Lok Sabha can over­ride any ob­jec­tions

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