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”.
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
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