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Centre opposes Jairam Ramesh’s challenge to Aadhar bill as money bill

New Delhi, Feb 13: The Centre on Monday opposed senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s plea challenging the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to certify the Aadhar Bill as a money bill and said the decision of the Speaker could not be called into question before any court. Telling senior counsel P. Chidambaram that tentatively they were not with the petitioner questioning the validity of the Speakers’ decision, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice N.V. Rama asked if the Rajya Sabha thought it was not a money bill then why did it propose amendments to it. Defending the Speaker’s decision to certify the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Fincial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Bill, 2016, as a money bill, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi referred to the provision of the Constitution’s Article 110 which gives the definition of money bill.

The AG told the court that all the money required for social welfare schemes that are linked to Aadhar would be withdrawn from the consolidated fund of India. He also took the court through the preamble of the Aadhar Bill to buttress his point that the Speaker was right in certifying it as a money bill. The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Fincial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Bill, 2016, was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 11, 2016, and it was taken up by the Rajya Sabha a week later. The Upper House had returned the bill with some proposed amendments, which were rejected by the Lok Sabha. Defending the plea by Ramesh, senior counsel P. Chidambaram told the court that if the origil bill was not a money bill then how could amendments to it be a money bill. “When origil bill was not a money bill, can an amendment be a money bill,” wondered Chidambaram. (IANS)