Aadhaar as Money Bill: SC to Hear Case at Length
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