Letter to BS: Did govt declare Finance Act as Money Bill to junk RS voting?

This refers to "Apex court strikes down Finance Act rules on tribunals" (November 14). In recent times, the government's decision of passing the Financial Act 2017 as a Money Bill in order to get smooth passage in Parliament has come under much scrutiny. A Money Bill can only be introduced in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha doesn't have the power to block the passage of the Bill once the Lok Sabha passes it. Many in the Opposition believe that the government declared it as a Money Bill on purpose to avoid voting in the Upper House as it does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha.

Our Constitution gives supremacy to the Lower House when it comes to passing a Money Bill. It is felt that declaring a particular Bill as Money Bill by the Lok Sabha Speaker must not leave any scope for doubt. The constitutional provision in this regard may need to be altered, if required, so as to put any dispute to rest at the initial stage itself. The Speaker may be mandated under the revised provision to seek advice from the Supreme Court before certifying a Bill as Money Bill. Alternatively, a panel comprising the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman and a sitting Supreme Court judge may decide the same. This will avert any constitutional crisis.

Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Jabalpur

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