Jairam Ramesh Moves SC Against Treatment of Aadhaar as Money Bill

Earlier the opposition had indictated that the matter of treatment of Aadhaar as Money Bill could be taken to court.

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Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference in New Delhi on April 7. (Photo: IANS)

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has moved the Supreme Court challenging the decision to treat Aadhaar bill as a money bill, which was passed during Budget session last month, overruling amenmdments moved in Rajya Sabha.

With this, the controversy over treating Aadhaar as a money bill, which refuses to die down ever since its passage, has taken a new twist as it is generally believed that Speaker’s discretion is final in the matter.

Accusing the BJP-led NDA government of showing “utter contempt” of Rajya Sabha for taking the money bill route to pass the Aadhaar bill, the oppositon party had earlier indicated that the matter could be challenged in the court.

Yesterday I have filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the decision to treat Aadhaar as a money bill. 
Jairam Ramesh, Senior Congress leader

Rejecting Rajya Sabha’s five amendments and opposition’s appeal not to make “haste”, the Lok Sabha had on March 16 passed the Aadhaar bill, that aims at better targeting of subsidies through the Aadhaar unique identity. Shortly before it was adjourned for more than a month-long recess for scrutiny of budget, the Lok Sabha had adopted the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Bill, 2016, by a voice vote after rejecting the recommendations for five amendments made by the Upper House.

Armed with the Speaker’s decision that it was a money bill, the government pushed it in the Rajya Sabha, which cannot amend it but only make recommendations for amendment to the Lok Sabha. Once the Lok Sabha passes a money bill with or without amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha, it is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses.

Showing urgency in getting the law through, the government, which enjoys a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha, had brought the measure to the lower house within an hour of being returned by the Rajya Sabha.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who moved the bill and piloted them in both the Houses, had also turned down the opposition’s argument that Parliament cannot legislate since the matter is before Supreme Court. Parliament cannot abdicate its duty under the Constitution which clearly separates powers among various institutions, he had said.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh while proposing amendments in the bill in Rajya Sabha, had then expressed “anguish” that the Bill was brought as a money bill, an act he likened to “knocking a nail in the coffin of the Upper House”.

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