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Concern regarding certification of bills as money bill

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    24th Feb, 2021

In a pre-emptive move, the opposition has requested Speaker of the Lok Sabha to not bypass the Rajya Sabha by declaring seven key Bills, as “money bills”.

Context

In a pre-emptive move, the opposition has requested Speaker of the Lok Sabha to not bypass the Rajya Sabha by declaring seven key Bills, as “money bills”.

About

What is money bill?

  • Article 110 of Indian constitution says a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the matters like,
    • 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,
    • the custody of the consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India etc

Difference between a finance bill and a money bill

  • Finance bills are similar to money bills in the sense that it has provisions related to tax, expenditure and that may contain matters specified in Article 110 (1).
  • A money bill specifically centres its identity around the provisions (a) to (g) and is certified by the Speaker as such.
  • A financial bill becomes a money bill only when it carries the Speaker’s certification as a money bill.
  • Bills that are not certified by the Speaker are:
    • Bills that contain any of the matters specified in Article 110, but do not contain only those matters Article 117 (1)
    • Ordinary bills that contain provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund, according to Article 117 (3)

What is the role of Rajya Sabha in money bill?

  • Money Bills can be introduced only in Lok Sabha.
  • Once money bills are passed by the Lok Sabha, it is sent to the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Rajya Sabha may not amend money bills but can recommend amendments.
  • To make sure that Rajya Sabha doesn't amend the bill by adding some non-money matters (known as Financial Bill), the Lok Sabha Speaker certifies the bill as a money bill before sending it to the upper house, and the decision of the Speaker is binding on both the Houses.
  • A money bill must be returned to the Lok Sabha within 14 days or the bill is deemed to have passed both houses in the form it was originally passed by the Lok Sabha.

Why opposition has shown its concern?

  • Money Bills has special feature, after its certification from the Speaker (Article 110(3): Speaker’s decision is final w.r.t, to certification), and it can only be presented in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha has no power to amend it.
  • Hence this move is perceived as bypassing the bicameral legislative system of Parliament.
  • Moreover due to parliamentary privileges and concept of separation of power there are less safeguards against wrongful certification of a bill as money bill.

Past controversies about money bill

  • Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016: Supreme Court held that passing Aadhaar Act as money bill is justified.
  • Finance Act 2017had amended various Acts to provide for new rules and appointments to various tribunals, including the industrial tribunal, Railway Claims Tribunal, National Green Tribunal, Armed Forces Tribunal, appellate tribunals for sectors such as telecom, aviation, highways, taxation, company law, and others.
    • Section 184 of the same Act gave the Central government the powers to frame rules regarding the tribunals. Later this act was held unconstitutional.

Is the role of Speaker outside the purview of judicial review?

  • In Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu (AIR 1993 SC 412), the "final" decision of the speaker regarding disqualification of members of the House under Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, has been held to be a judicial decision subject to judicial review.
  • In the past SC has checked the certification of bills as money bill by virtue of its powers under Article 142 eg. Adhar case.

Other controversies surrounding Speaker

  • Anti Defection Law
  • Certification of Money Bill
  • Voice vote
  • Works under pressure of majority government
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