What is a Money bill? Who decides whether a bill is a Money bill or not? Discuss the recent controversy on the Aadhaar Act which was passed as a Money bill.
Under Article 110 of the Indian constitution, a bill is considered a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely:
- the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
- the regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India;
- the custody of the consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund;
- the appropriation of moneys out of the consolidated Fund of India;
- the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
- the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or
- if a proposed legislation contains other features, ones that are not merely incidental to the items specifically outlined, such a draft law cannot be classified as a money bill
The decision of the Speaker is final on whether a bill is a money bill or not in case any question arises. Moreover the decision is immune from judicial review (Supreme Court’s judgment in Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui vs State of UP).
The Recent Controversy regarding passing of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Act in which it is argued that the bill contains matters other than those related to that of expenditure from the Consolidated Fund since it has a mechanism to identify a person using biometrics for providing subsidies or government services.
Critics say that the government has passed it as a money bill since it does not have to be approved by the upper house. A misuse of the money bill in order to get a bill passed in the parliament is against the provisions of the constitution. The validity of the Aadhar Act was therefore challenged in a Court of law. And the decision is pending.