Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Aadhaar bill status questioned

Narada Desk | March 16, 2016 3:42 pm Print

Rajya Sabha

Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha questioned the status of the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill and also its validity and opposed its introduction in the upper house.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, however, made it clear that Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision on the issue could not be questioned.

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal raised a point of order, and said the bill was converted into a money bill wrongly.

“This bill is not fulfilling even a single condition of being a money bill. The Rajya Sabha is an independent house. We have the right to turn it down,” Agrawal said.

“We cannot give any judgment on what the (Lok Sabha) speaker has done. The constitution is very clear — the decision of the speaker is final,” Kurien said.

“I am nobody to question the speaker, neither are you. As far as I am concerned, this is a money bill,” Kurien said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury also said that the bill itself was ultra vires of the constitution.

“The constitution provides for the fundamental right to life and liberty. Liberty includes privacy. This bill violates individual privacy,” Yechury said.

“This is something beyond the legislative competence of the house…,” the CPI-M leader said, adding that the Supreme Court is also looking into the matter.

“The Supreme Court has constituted a five-member bench to examine the issue. Since a SC bench is seized of the matter and the court will pass a judicial verdict on it, this haste to legislate — I see it as a method of trying to subvert the judicial verdict,” Yechury said.

Kurien, however, said: “Legislative competence does not arise (here) because the bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and we are bound to consider it.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who then got up to table the bill, also said that it’s government’s job to legislate.

“The Supreme Court is considering the issue and, therefore, parliament should suspend its own power of legislation… it is an unprecedented argument, particularly in a democracy which is governed by the separation of powers. The power to legislate belongs to parliament. It doesn’t belong to the court,” he said.