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Centre objects priority to ‘Money Bill’ hearing

  • Published
    13th Oct, 2023
Context:

Recently, the Central Government took objection to the seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) giving priority to the Rojer Mathew vs. South Indian Bank Ltd and Others case, which deals with the question of Money Bill.

  • The case is now referred to a seven-judge bench for hearing.

 

Background:
  • The matter of the Money Bill courted controversy after the Centre passed the Aadhaar Act in 2016.
  • The Centre had introduced the Aadhaar Bill in the Parliament as a Money Bill.
  • It was alleged that since the government lacked majority in the Rajya Sabha, it introduced the Bill as a Money Bill to circumvent the Upper House.
  • Similar allegations were levelled for amendments made to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
  • In 2019, while looking into the validity of the Finance Act, 2017 as a Money Bill, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court went through the Aadhaar judgement and observed that it did not discuss the significance of the word “only” in Article 110(1).
  • The five-judge bench then referred the batch of matters to a larger constitutional bench.

What is a Money Bill?

  • According to Article 110, a “Money Bill” is a bill comprising laws governing taxes, the government's borrowing policies, and the use of funds from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • A money bill India involves the imposition, abolition, remission, change, or regulation of any tax, according to the Constitution.

Constitutional Provisions:

According to the constitution of India, a bill is referred as Money bill if;

  • Definition of “Money Bills”; a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely:—
    • the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
    • the 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;
    • the 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;
    • the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
    • the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
    • the 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
    • Any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).
  • A Bill shall not be deemed to be a Money Bill by reason only that;
    • It provides for the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or
    • For the demand or payment of fees for licences or
    • Fees for services rendered, or by reason that it provides for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or
    • Regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes.

Note: If any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final.

  • There shall be endorsed on every Money Bill when it is transmitted to the Council of States under Article 109, and when it is presented to the President for assent under Article 111, the certificate of the Speaker of the House of the People signed by him that it is a Money Bill.
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