Government defends move on Finance Act

  1. The Centre has told the Supreme Court that Finance Bill,2017 was certified as a Money Bill by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and judicial review of that decision cannot be done.The government argued that Article 122 of the Constitution states that the conduct of business and Proceedings of the parliament cannot be questioned before the Court of Law.Government has also said that there could be no selective and restricted challenge to a part of the Finance Act 2017.
  2. The Constitution Bench is hearing a number of petitions challenging certain provisions of the Finance Act,2017.The act modifies the terms of appointment and functioning in various statutory tribunals,including the National Green Tribunal.The petitioners have argued that mere certification of a Bill to be a Money Bill by the Speaker will not render the legislation immune from judicial scrutiny if it violates the provisions of Indian Constitution.
  3. A money bill is defined under Article 110 of the Indian Constitution.A Bill is said to be a Money Bill if it only contains provisions related to taxation, borrowing of money by the government,expenditure from or receipt to the Consolidated Fund of India. Bills that only contain provisions that are incidental to these matters would also be regarded as Money Bills.
  4. The Speaker certifies a Bill as a Money Bill, and the Speaker’s decision is final.Also,the Constitution states that parliamentary proceedings as well as officers responsible for the conduct of business (such as the Speaker) may not be questioned by any Court.
  5. A Money Bill may only be introduced in Lok Sabha, on the recommendation of the President.It must be passed in Lok Sabha by a simple majority of all members present and voting.Following this, it may be sent to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations, which Lok Sabha may reject if it chooses to. If such recommendations are not given within 14 days, it will be deemed to be passed by Parliament.
  6. While all Money Bills are Financial Bills,all Financial Bills are not Money Bills.For example,the Finance Bill which only contains provisions related to tax proposals would be a Money Bill.However,a Bill that contains some provisions related to taxation or expenditure, but also covers other matters would be considered as a Financial Bill.