The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea seeking a direction to declare as unconstitutional government's move to refer four versions of Lokpal Bills to Parliament's Standing Committee for consideration, saying the stage has not yet come where it "will invoke judicial review".
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna dismissed the plea saying that introduction of bills and having debate on them are basically parliamentary procedure. "When the fundamental rights of the petitioner has not been affected, Article 226 of the Constitution cannot be invoked. We do not see any merit in the plea," the bench said.
The court said, "The writ petition is without any legal foundation. We decline to entertain it and the same is dismissed." Appearing before the bench, advocate Manohar Lal Sharma contended that the four bills, introduced by the government on Lokpal issue, are "all money bills" as the expenses for the office of the Lokpal will be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India and President's permission was required for introducing such bills.
He claimed that he had sought to know from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs if the President's permission was taken to introduce the Bill, but he was denied the information.
Countering the petitioner's argument, Additional Solicitor General A S Chandihoke told the court that the bills are not money bills and it was the discretion of the Speaker to decide as to whether a bill is a money bill or not.
The bench was hearing a PIL which alleged that the government had followed an "unprecedented" unconstitutional procedure by having civil society members in the drafting panel.
It said the Bill was introduced under pressure from civil society members and political parties.