Aadhaar Act As Money Bill Sets Dangerous Precedent: Chidambaram
The Aadhaar Act, which was passed as a money bill, should be struck down as its provisions had no relation to the nature of a Money Bill, Senior Advocate P Chidambaram argued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, 13 March.
Once the bill has been passed, those provisions which fall foul of the money bill criteria cannot be severed, Chidambaram said before a five-judge Constitution bench of the top court hearing challenges to the Aadhaar scheme and the Aadhaar Act.
A money bill bypasses the scrutiny of the Rajya Sabha as well as takes away the power of the President to send the bill back to the Parliament for reconsideration. Hence, there are strict criteria of what will qualify as a money bill, the senior advocate argued.
The government can introduce the Aadhaar Bill again as an ordinary bill if they want, he added.
Chidamabaram is representing Congress Leader Jairam Ramesh who had filed a public interest litigation challenging the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill. He has concluded his arguments and Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan will continue his arguments on behalf of the petitioners tomorrow.
Aadhaar Linking Deadline Extended
In an interim order, the Supreme Court extended all deadlines for linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, mobile phones and other services indefinitely, till a judgement is pronounced in the matter. The biometric identification cannot be made mandatory expect for providing subsidies, the top court added.
On 15 December last year, the Supreme Court had extended the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes till 31 March 2018.