Is the Aadhaar Bill a Money Bill?

We take look at what a Money Bill is and why the government has pushed the Aadhaar Bill through it.

May 10, 2016 11:29 am | Updated March 25, 2017 10:10 am IST

The introduction of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill caused uproar in both Houses of Parliament.

The introduction of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill caused uproar in both Houses of Parliament.

What is a Money Bill?

A Money Bill is one that contains provisions for taxes, appropriation of funds etc. Money Bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments to such bills passed by the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha can suggest amendments, but it is the Lok Sabha’s choice to accept or reject them.

How is Aadhaar connected?

The NDA government chose to introduce the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 as a Money Bill. The Lok Sabha >cleared the Bill and passed it to the Rajya Sabha.

While the NDA has a majority in the Lok Sabha, it does not in the Rajya Sabha. This led to intense debates in the Upper House, led by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. The House >recommended several amendments to the Bill, which was passed with a majority in the House.

What was the Opposition about?

The Opposition’s main concern was with the usage of Aadhaar data to >facilitate mass surveillance . Originally, the Aadhaar project was supposed to be voluntary, but this Bill makes enrolment compuslory. The Bill contains a blanket ‘national security’ clause, a clause bound to induce misuse.

What happened next?

Parliament >passed the Aadhaar Bill , even as debates raged in both Houses. “I am questioning the competence of this House to legislate the Bill,” Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) said, arguing that the Bill was also being considered by the Supreme Court and was beyond “the legislative authority” of the House.

What now?

Mr. Ramesh then moved the Supreme Court >challenging the treatment of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill. Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who moved the Bill and piloted them in both the Houses, had turned down the Opposition argument that Parliament cannot legislate as the matter is before the Supreme Court.

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