Government opposes Jairam’s plea against Aadhaar bill as money bill

Monday, Feb 13, 2017,15:12 IST By anju A A A

New Delhi | Government on Monday opposed in Supreme Court a petition moved by senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh challenging the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to certify the bill on Aadhaar as a money bill on the ground that it covered all constitutional provisions to bring it under the ambit of money bill.

Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi countered the arguments made by senior advocate P Chidambaram, who appeared for Ramesh, and said the Aadhaar bill was certified as money bill to avoid its scrutiny before the Rajya Sabha which does not have any say on a money bill.

However, the AG said the Speaker’s decision cannot be challenged in the court and moreover the legislation covered all mandatory requirements under the Constitution to be certified as a money bill as all expenditure on social welfare programmes connected with Aadhaar will be withdrawn from the consolidated fund.

Pressing for the scrutiny of the Speaker’s decision to certify the Aadhaar Bill as Money Bill, Chidambaram said it is important to see what can be certified as money bill.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana, which heard the matter at some length, was of the view that the issue raised in the petition was serious.

However, it noted in agreement with the submission of AG that the issue involved was pertaining to the withdrawal of money from the consolidated fund.

The bench, asked Chidambaram to look into all objections raised by the AG and posted the matter after four weeks, saying it did not want to quickly take a call on the issue.

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Bill, 2016 was discussed and passed in the Lok Sabha on March 11 last year. It was then taken up in Rajya Sabha on March 16, where several amendments were made to it. The bill then returned the same evening to Lok Sabha which rejected all amendments proposed by the Upper House and passed it.