National

Congress welcomes SC decision on referring money bill case

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Congress party on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court decision to refer the case on the Centre’s decision to club nearly 20 bills under the Finance Act as “money bill” to a larger Constitution Bench. The party termed the decision a significant victory in it’s fight against misuse of the Money Bill route taken by the government in the past.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the decision of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India in my case. I am deeply grateful to the Supreme Court for this decision,” Rajya Sabha MP and petitioner in the case Jairam Ramesh said.

The Bench will take a call on whether the decision of the Speaker, who has to certify a bill as money bill, was correct. If the Supreme Court gives a thumbs down, the government will have to bring separate legislation for all the 19 laws passed as money bills. These bills include dilution of the National Green Tribunal. The case of the Aadhaar Act could also be revisited.

Only the Lok Sabha has voting rights on a money bill. While Rajya Sabha can debate it, it is not mandatory that the Upper House pass the bill.

Mr. Ramesh has called for detailed debate on money bill. He said that it is essential that the decision on categorising any legislation as money bill should have solid grounds and not taken arbitrarily by the Speaker alone.

"It is a victory not for the Congress. This is a very big victory especially for the Rajya Sabha and democracy and it is a defeat of the BJP," he said.

Mr Ramesh in his petition had challenged the Finance Act of 2017 (as notified on March 31, 2017) and the rules framed thereunder (notified on June 1, 2017) through which the government had sought to dilute appointments to nineteen different tribunals, including crucial institutions like National Green Tribunal and Central Administrative Tribunal, among others.

Through the rules, the government extended executive control over these institutions by altering the composition of the selection committees and vastly downgrading the qualifications and experience required to staff these bodies, he alleged.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2020 6:42:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-welcomes-sc-decision-on-referring-money-bill-case/article29964801.ece

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