Time for Parliament to revisit Constitution’s Article 110: Yechury
It is time the Parliament revisited the Constitution’s Article 110 in order to lift the veil of ambiguity from over the definition of a money bill, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said on Monday.
“Time has come for us to revisit Section 3 of Article 110 of the Constitution which gives this right to Speaker of Lok Sabha to decide whether a bill is a money bill or not,” Yechury said during a discussion on the Finance Bill 2017 in Rajya Sabha.
Article 110(1) defines what is a money bill and Article 110(2) what is not a money bill, but Article 110(3) holds if any question arises whether a bill is a money bill or not, “the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final”.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary, however, contended that this right does not negate what has been said in Articles 110(1) and 110 (2) “but that is exactly what is happening today”.
“This negation is allowing this sort of subterfuge and smuggling of non-tax proposals and changes into them into the Finance Bill whereby fundamental issues are going to be amended, enacted, legislated without the opinion and concurrence of this House. This is anti-constitutional,” he said.
Yechury demanded that the upper House “must return the Finance Bill 2017 bill to Lok Sabha with a very serious concern saying you reconsider these aspects and non-tax matters should be deleted from the bill”.
He said that at least 40 new legislations were being “smuggled in” through the Fiance Bill.
“I think this is an effort to undermine the very institution of parliamentary democracy. By smuggling non-financial matters into the Finance Bill, defining it as a money bill thereby depriving the Rajya Sabha of its right to discuss these matters is actually undermining the entire Constitutional scheme of things,” he said.
The BJP does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha and it is difficult for the government to win its backing for any contentious legislation.
However, the Rajya Sabha has no power to amend any money bill, and can only send it back to Lok Sabha for reconsideration with its suggestions which are not binding on the lower house.
The opposition has been alleging for some time now that the Narendra Modi government has been taking the money bill route as frequently as it can to evade the upper House where it is in minority.
“It is an unconstitutional Bill that has been brought. We are seeing the revival of the inspector raj of the worst form,” said Yechury.
Yechury also strongly objected to the provision in the Bill that makes it compulsory to give Aadhaar for filing income tax return (ITR).
“Why are you saying today that Aadhaar is required for me to file my ITR? Why do I have my PAN card at all then?” he asked, adding that if the government wants to make Aadhaar compulsory, it should bring a straightforward bill saying as much.
“If you want to make it compulsory, bring a bill saying Aadhaar is compulsory. Why this subterfuge? Why do you want to smuggle it into the Finance Bill? Have the courage to bring a straightforward bill,” Yechury said.
“This Aadhaar insistence is leading up to the creation of a surveillance state in India. It is violative of my fundamental right to liberty. My privacy is being violated by this Aadhaar. Anybody with my Aadhaar number can access all my details including financial and personal details,” he said.
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