Money bill is latest in Modi’s governance model

Since Aadhaar is slotted as money bill, Rajya Sabha will have little say on this crucial legislation

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | March 3, 2016 | New Delhi


#Budget Session   #Aadhaar Bill   #UIDAI   #Aadhaar  


Aadhaar is finally getting legal backing – after years of going on without it. The government has chosen to classify it as a money bill. So, it needs to be cleared only by the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha – where the government lacks numbers – will have no say.

This is, of course, a subterfuge to avoid the upper house and delays, and get on with the business of Aadhaar as soon as possible. In its first year, the Modi government had unleashed a blitzkrieg of ordinances, but then ordinances still needed to be cleared by parliament later. That is why the land acquisition amendment legislation was given up after three lapsed ordinances. Now, the Modi government has found a better way – the money bill.

READ: Eight things you must know about new Aadhaar legislation


But does Aadhaar fit the bill? Money bills are typically directly related to the finances of the government Article 110(1) of the constitution defines a money bill as one that deals only (only) with any of the following:

(a)  Imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax,

(b) Regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India,

(c) Custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such fund,

(d) Appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India,

(e) Declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure,

(f) Receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or

(g) Any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).

The stress on “only” is well advised: the constituent assembly debated it and retained the word.

In other words, “Bills which exclusively contain provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund, etc., are certified as Money Bills.”

In legalese, the Aadhaar legislation can be interpreted as a money bill by stretching any of the criteria, for example, by arguing that Aadhaar is aimed at saving subsidies and thus the bill relates to the criterion C – or even D, or F – above. Though that has not been the traditional interpretation (even the GST bill is not a money bill), there is little point in arguing for or against: when it comes to classifying money bills, the Lok Sabha speaker’s decision is final and it cannot be challenged.

By the way, the previous, ill-fated Aadhaar bill of the UPA vintage was not a money bill – and that is why it remained hanging, facing strictures from a parliamentary committee headed by Yashwant Sinha of BJP.

The latest version, as a money bill, cannot be referred to any committee. The Rajya Sabha cannot make any amendments to the version passed by the Lok Sabha though it can add recommendations, and it will have to return the bill in 14 days. And the president cannot return a money bill.

Thus, the Aadhaar law, which was stalled for years by BJP and objected to by BJP, is now being pushed in such a way that one of the two houses of parliament will not have any say on it, and it will be a law before the end of the month.
 

Comments

 

Other News

A great literary feast (that could’ve been even more sumptuous)

A Case of Indian Marvels: Dazzling Stories from the Country’s Finest Writers Edited by David Davidar Aleph, 390 pages, Rs 999 Change is the only constant, and India has always been doing so. Yet, after independence, if there was a year when the p

Govt e-Marketplace sellers report more business

“My volume of business has increased ever since I registered on GeM (Government e-Marketplace) in 2017. Earlier, I could supply items only in the vicinity of my shop in Fort area and only within Mumbai. Now, I ship my products all over the country! I have tied up with India Post and three private cou

How the Hindi Newspaper Business Changed

The Journey of Hindi Language Journalism in India: From Raj to Swaraj and Beyond By Mrinal Pande Orient BlackSwan, 188 pages, Rs 1,195.00 In India, the English-language media is considered the ‘national media’, while the language press

More reforms in telecom sector in offing: Ashwini Vaishnaw

The telecom sector in the country will witness more reforms in the coming years, minister for communications, electronics & IT and railways Ashwini Vaishnaw has said. He also asserted that the industry too will have to do its bit and reciprocate by improving quality of service significantly.

Left-wing extremism: challenges and response

Left-wing extremism is in existence right from India’s independence, but it became prominent in 1967 under the name of Naxalism. The nomenclature of this movement has changed from time to time and place to place depending upon the leadership. Before 2014 more than 15 states were facing this problem w

Agri Min organises events ahead of International Year of Millets 2023

A series of pre-launch events and initiatives have been organised by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on the MyGov platform in the run-up to the International Year of Millets 2023 to create awareness and a sense of participation in the country  around the ancient and forgotten golden

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter