Context: Aadhar Bill was stalled in Rajya Sabha as government do not have majority there. So, the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha were rejected and the Aadhaar bill was passed as a money bill because Rajya Sabha can not stall a money bill.
Basics of Money Bill:
- A money bill is a bill where Rajya Sabha or the Upper House has no authority to amend it in any way
- There are six condition for a bill to be a money bill and they pertain to taxes, government borrowings and expenditure etc.
- Article 110 talks about money bill and the matters exclusively contained in that are called money bill.
- The Lok Sabha may or may not accept the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha
- If Rajya Sabha does not even return the bill in 14 days, it is considered passed in both houses. President can withhold assent to money bill but cannot return it for reconsideration of the Lok Sabha
- There is no question of joint sitting in case of money bills because opinion of Rajya Sabha is immaterial in their case
- Indian Parliament have a Speaker who is the authority to classify a bill as money bill or as not a money bill and the decision is final
Features for which a bill can be called a money bill:
Our Constitution specifies six conditions for any bill to be a money bill, and states that the bill should have only these features, or any item incidental to it. The six conditions are related to:
- The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax
- Regulation of borrowing or the giving of any guarantee by the government of India, or undertaking financial obligation by the government
- The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or withdrawal from them
- The appropriation of moneys out of the CFI
- Declaring any expenditure as a charged expenditure on the CFI
- The receipt of money on account of the CFI or the public account of India or the ambit of accounts of the Union or of a state
Comparison with Britain:
- In Britain money bill certified by the speaker requires Speaker to consult two other people.
- Also in India Speaker does not resign from party unlike Britain thus some party influence always remain.
Is Aadhar a money Bill?
The bill provides for a mechanism to identify a person using biometrics, and states that this could be used for providing subsidies or government services. However, it also allows the Aadhaar system to be used for other purposes. Therefore, it seems to contain matters other than those that are incidental to expenditure from the Consolidated Fund. That is, it does not seem to fit the requirement of “only” the matters listed
- The Aadhar bill was passed in Lok Sabha as money bill although it contained non money matters
- A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme court challenging the classification of the bill as money bill
- The Supreme Court has agreed to hear in detail a challenge by Jairam Ramesh, MP, to the passing of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill.
- Government: the judiciary had no jurisdiction to encroach on legislative procedure in Parliament, where the Speaker was the final authority.
- SC: Government objective may be good but the questions is whether it is Money bill or not.
Why some bills are labelled as money bills and require only the Lower House to pass them in Indian legislatures? The Constitution says the decision of the speaker shall be final in deciding which bill is money bill. Should this provision be amended? Comment. (200 Words)