The Supreme Court told the government on Monday that it can interfere with the Lok Sabha speaker’s decision if it violated the rules or procedures of Parliament.
“If the speaker says blue is green, then we will ask the speaker to say it’s blue. We can’t let it go as green,” a bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar told attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, who had told the court that a speaker’s decision cannot be challenged in court.
Rohatgi was opposing Congress Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh’s petition in which he challenged the speaker’s decision to certify the bill on Aadhaar as money bill.
Ramesh contended that the certification was done to avoid the bill’s scrutiny before the Rajya Sabha, which does not have a say on a money bill.
Pressing for judicial scrutiny, Ramesh’s lawyer, senior advocate and Congress colleague P Chidambaram told the bench that it was important to ascertain as to how the bill was passed as a money bill.
According to Chidambaram, there were serious objections raised to the original draft of the bill by the Rajya Sabha, following which amendments were made. The original bill, he said, was never pitched as a money bill, while the amended one was.
Rohatgi countered Chidambaram and said the legislation covered all mandatory requirements under the Constitution to be certified as a money bill as all expenditure on social welfare programmes connected with Aadhaar would be withdrawn from the consolidated fund.
The bench appeared to agree with Rohatgi and asked Chidambaram to look into all the objections the AG raised.
“Prima facie we agree with him (Rohatgi). But you can convince us during the next hearing,” the bench told Chidambaram, giving him four weeks to respond.
The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Bill, 2016 was discussed and passed in the Lok Sabha on March 11 last year. It was then taken up in the Rajya Sabha on March 16, where several amendments were made to it. The bill was then returned the same evening to the Lok Sabha which rejected all amendments proposed by the Upper House and passed it.