National

Aadhaar verdict: It’s Money Bill, says majority opinion

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan speaks to the media following the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Aadhaar case in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan speaks to the media following the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Aadhaar case in New Delhi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Justice Chandrachud disagrees.

The majority opinion on the Constitution Bench that the Aadhaar Act was a Money Bill prevailed on Wednesday, but the dissenting judgment by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud questioned how a statute about an identity proof, Aadhaar, can be possibly passed as Money Bill.

Justice A.K. Sikri, who wrote the majority view for the Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, pointed to Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act which required authentication by Aadhaar card if beneficiaries wanted to access subsidies, benefits and services.

Justice Sikri reasoned that since all these were welfare measures sought to be extended to the marginalised sections, a collective reading would show that the “purpose is to expand the coverage of all kinds of aid, support, grant, advantage, relief provisions, facility, utility or assistance which may be extended with the support of the Consolidated Fund of India with the objective of targeted delivery.”

In short, the majority view justified that Aadhaar was vital to ensure that government aid reached the targeted beneficiaries, and hence, the Act was validly passed as a Money Bill.

But Justice Chandrachud proclaimed that a fraud was played on the Constitution by the ruling party in power.

‘Act unconstitutional’

“A Money Bill must deal with the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. Section 7 does not declare the expenditure incurred to be a charge on the Consolidated Fund. It only provides that in the case of such services, benefits or subsidies, Aadhaar can be made mandatory to avail of them,” Justice Chandrachud countered Justice Sikri’s view. He also pointed out that the other sections of the Aadhaar Act which dealt with several aspects relating to the Aadhaar numbers were alien to the scope of Article 110 of the Constitution which defined a Money Bill.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:52:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/aadhaar-verdict-its-money-bill-says-majority-opinion/article25050600.ece

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