As the Aadhaar Hearing reached Day 16, Senior Advocate P. Chidamabaram concluded his arguments on the issue of Aadhaar Act, 2016 being introduced as a Money Bill before the 5-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Dr. AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, Dr. DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, JJ. The most important take away from Day 16 hearing was that the Court scrapped the present deadline for linking Aadhaar stand extended till the final disposal of the matter.
Below are the highlights from Day 16 of the Aadhaar Hearing:
P. Chidambaram’s Submissions on Money Bill issue:
- Speaker’s decision is not final. It is subject to judicial review.
- (Reads S R Bommai v. Union of India) The satisfaction ofthe President mentioned in clause (1), shall be final and conclusive and shall notbe questioned in any court on any ground.
- Any bill if passed in the guise of money bill strucks at the basic feature of Constitution i.e. federalism.
- (Reads Raja Ram Pal v. Speaker) Validity of any proceeding in the Parliament on grounds of irregularity of procedure cannot be looked into by the court. However, illegality can be a ground for the courts to exercise judicial review. If the impugned procedure adopted in Parliament is illegal and unconstitutional, judicial review lies.
- The question why it was termed as money bill was raised by MP Jairam Ramesh in the discussions. He had moved for amendments in the bill which were adopted in Rajya Sabha, however, these amendments were not considered by the Lok Sabha and it was passed in original.
- The apparent object of the Aadhaar Bill is to make a law that will fit into Article 110(1)(c) & (g).
- Chandrachud, J: If we cross the threshold of justiciability, which are the provisions are relatable to Art. 110?
- Chidambaram: Question should be is there any provision in the Act which doesn’t fall under Ar. 110 (a) to (g). Because money bill can’t have any provision beyond (a) to (g). Provisions such as Section 57, 54, 23 go beyond the scope of Article 110. And hence it is not a money bill but merely a financial bill. It wasn’t a money bill when introduced or certified.
- Chandrachud, J: Does the entirety of the bill has to go or the portions can be severed-those provisions which fall under Art. 110?
- Chidambaram: It will go in entirety. The provisions are not severable.
- The provisions make it clear that it was not a money bill, then how could it have been passed as a money bill and the scrutiny of Rajya Sabha been bypassed. If this could slip through as a money bill, virtually any bill could slip as a money bill. It sets a very dangerous precedent. Money bill is an extremely narrow subset of financial bill. This bill goes far beyond the intended purpose of delivery of subsidies.
Submissions on issue of Aadhaar being made mandatory for Tatkal Passport:
- Arvind Datar: Government can’t make Aadhaar mandatory in violation of SC order. (Further asks the court to consider extension of deadlines.)
- AG KK Venugopal: There are other IDs eg. water bill, electeicity bill which can be taken. Aadhaar is only for expediting the procedure. Says that in case of passport under tatkal scheme, Aadhaar is required for out of turn consideration to expedite the process. (Requests that the extension of deadlines should not affect section 7- the subsidies.)
Hence, Court passed an interim order directing that the order passed on earlier occasion stands extended and that this extension would also cover the issue of passports.