Centre justifies certification of Finance Bill, 2017 as money bill; SC reserves verdict

Supreme-court-BCCLNEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday in the Supreme Court justified certification of Finance Bill, 2017 as a money bill saying it has provisions which deals with salaries and allowance to be paid to members of tribunals from the consolidated funds of India.

The top court reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Finance Act, 2017 on the ground that it was passed by the Parliament as a money bill.

The Centre contended that certification of Finance Act as money bill was done by speaker of Lok Sabha and court cannot judicially review the decision.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “Hearing concluded. Order reserved”.

At the outset, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre said that certification granted by the speaker cannot be challenged in the court of law.

The Attorney General justified before the bench also comprising Justices N V Ramana, D Y Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna the certification of Finance Act as a money bill saying it deals with payment and receipt made from the consolidated funds of India.

“It is the whole part which has been certified as a money bill and not in parts. Therefore no part can be severed to say that this cannot be called as a money bill,” Venugopal said.

He referred to provision for money spent on tribunals from the consolidated funds and said salaries and allowances of tribunal members would come under incidental matters referred in the Article 110 (1)(G) of the Constitution.

Article 110 of the Constitution deals with provisions as when can a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill.

Venugopal relied on Aadhaar verdict of last year and said that the apex court has held that the main object of Aadhaar Act was to extend benefits to marginalised section of society in the form of aid, grant or subsidy from the consolidated fund.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who led the arguments for the petitioners, argued that a bill which says that salaries shall be paid to the members of tribunal does not in itself make it a money bill.

He sought making the tribunals independent saying their core judicial duty cannot be taken away or at least they can be brought under the control of law ministry or one nodal agency as held in 1997 and 2010 verdicts of the apex court.

The top court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Finance Bill of 2017.

On March 28, the Centre has told the apex court that it cannot question the speaker’s decision of certifying a bill as a Money Bill and it is a well settled law.

Venugopal said contention that certification of Finance Bill of 2017 as Money Bill was not right cannot be a ground for a challenge to validity of the Bill.

He had said that apex court has repeatedly held in its verdicts that certification cannot be questioned and courts cannot inquire into the decision taken by Parliament.

Venugopal had said Finance Bill comprises of amendments to several Acts and statutes and the petitioners have challenged only one particular aspect saying it cannot be termed as Money Bill.

The apex court had earlier sought the Centre’s view on bringing all the tribunals under one central umbrella body for ensuring “efficient functioning” and “streamlining the working” of quasi-judicial bodies.

The top court had said it would not like to be bogged down with what is right or wrong and all it wants was that “the tribunals work efficiently and independently”.

The court had said it is tentatively of the view that directions given by the apex court in its two verdicts of 1997 and 2010 for bringing all the tribunals of the country under one nodal agency should have been “implemented long back”.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]

SC refers Delhi’s pleas against HC verdict on LG to Constitution Bench

SC refers Delhi's pleas against HC verdict on LG to Constitution BenchSatya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15

The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday referred the dispute between the AAP government and Lieutenant Governor over their powers and jurisdiction to a Constitution Bench, saying it involved important questions of law.A Bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, however, did not frame the issues to be considered by the Constitution Bench.

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It said the parties were free to approach Chief Justice of India JS Khehar to seek an early setting up of the Bench for speedy disposal of the matter. The AAP government and LG have been involved in a bitter power tussle over who controls various departments in Delhi. The Delhi High Court had on August 4 last year declared that LG was the boss in the capital.In a setback to the Arvind Kejriwal government, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the Delhi High Court’s verdict declaring the LG the administrative head of Delhi. It had also declined to stop functioning of a three-member panel set up by LG Najeeb Jung to scrutinise 400-odd files relating to decisions taken by the AAP government without his concurrence.Following the HC order, ‎the appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries was also declared illegal for want of LG’s approval. The AAP government had accused the LG of acting like an employee of the Centre. “A piquant situation has emerged in Delhi due to the Delhi High Court’s August 4 judgement, which had held that all decisions of the elected government have to get prior approval of the LG,” it had said.In its August 4 verdict, the HC held concurrence of the LG in administrative issues was “mandatory”. The high Court had rejected the AAP government’s contention that LG was bound to act only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with regard to making of laws by the Legislative Assembly under the Article 239AA and termed it was “without substance.”However, it had agreed with the AAP government’s submission that the LG will have to act on its aid and advice in appointment of‎ special public prosecutors.

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