The SC on 13th February began hearing the view of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on a request filed by Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh challenging the decision to treat Aadhaar bill as a money bill, which was declared during Budget session in March 2016 overruling amendments moved in the Rajya Sabha.
The Attorney General( AG) told the court that the Speaker’s decision on any legislative process can never be questioned by Court. “Tentatively we do not agree with the suer but we shall hold a detailed hearing after one month. Be ready on that day”,a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said after Rohatgi displayed the constitutional provision relating to the matter.
A Money Bill is one that contains provisions for taxes, appropriation of funds etc. Money Bills can be presented only in the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments to such bills passed by the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha can suggest amendments, but it is the Lok Sabha’s choice to accept or reject them.
Senior advocate P Chidambaram arguing the case for Ramesh questioned the “grossly unconstitutional” passing of the Aadhar law as money bill. Ramesh while proposing amendments in the bill in the Rajya Sabha, had then stated “anguish” that the bill was brought as a money bill, an act he likened to “knocking a nail in the coffin of the Upper House”.
Accusing the BJP-led NDA government of showing “utter disrespect” of the Rajya Sabha for taking the money bill route to pass the Aadhaar bill, the opposite party had indicated that the case could be challenged in the court.
Refusing the Rajya Sabha’s 5 amendments and the Opposition’s invoke not to make “hurry”, the Lok Sabha had on 16th March, 2016 took the Aadhaar (targeted delivery of financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Bill, 2016, by a voice vote after refusing the recommendations for 5 amendments made by the Upper House earlier in the evening.
Armed with the Speaker’s decision that it was a money bill, the government presented it in the Rajya Sabha, which cannot amend it but only make recommendations for amendment to the Lok Sabha. Once the Lok Sabha passes a money bill with or without amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha, it is hold to have been passed by both the Houses.
Showing urgency in getting the law through, the government, which enjoys a ggod majority in the Lok Sabha, had brought the measure to the lower house within an hour of being returned by the Rajya Sabha.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who moved the bill and navigated them in both the Houses, had also turned down opposite argument that Parliament cannot pass since the issue is before Supreme Court(SC).
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