New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the plea of Congress leader Jairam Ramesh who has challenged the propriety of the government introducing the Aadhaar Act as a money bill, and asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to address the court on the issue.
A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit asked Rohatgi to address the court on the issue as senior counsel P. Chidambaram told the court that presenting the Aadhaar Act as a money bill was unconstitutional.
Appearing for Ramesh, who moved the public interest litigation, Chidambaram, a senior counsel and former union finance minister, told the court that some bills are called finance bills and very few bills would qualify as money bills, which do not need assent of the upper house, which cannot also amend them, but only suggest changes, which the lower house may disregard.
After passing the Aadhaar Act in one house (Lok Sabha), the government got it passed in the other house (Rajya Sabha) as a money bill and that is unconstitutional, he said.
Ramesh has challenged the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, enacted on March 26, 2016, terming the introduction of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill being nothing but a “brazen and malafide attempt to bypass the approval of the Rajya Sabha which holds an important place in the Constitutional and democratic framework of law-making”.
He also contended that it impacted the fundamental rights of the citizens and residents under the constitution’s articles 14 and 21, and has dangerous implications for imposing restrictions on the rights guaranteed by the constitution.
It has been contended that since it was brought in as a money bill, thus it was passed only by Lok Sabha, there bypassing Rajya Sabha, where the NDA government does not enjoy majority support.
Ramesh has sought direction to the central government to produce before the court the “relevant material/documents/files/notings/opinions sought from the law officers which necessitated the respondents (central government) to introduce ordinary bill as money bill and proceed with enacting the impugned act”.
The court fixed May 10 as the next date of hearing.