The Supreme Court of India. (File photo)
New Delhi: Supreme Court on Monday said it was"tentatively not convinced" with the grounds taken by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh to challenge Lok Sabha Speaker's decision to certify a bill to amend Aadhaar law as a money bill.
As the government asserted that it fulfilled the criteria as the expenditure for the welfare schemes has to be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India, the apex court said the issue was "important and serious" and it did not want to take a call on it in haste.
It granted four weeks to Ramesh's counsel and senior advocate P Chidambaram to prepare his case by taking into account all the objections raised by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who also said that the decision of the Speaker cannot be brought under judicial scrutiny.
The remarks "tentatively, we are not convinced and you can convince us" came from a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana, after the Attorney General countered Chidambaram's submissions by stating that all criteria laid down under the Constitution have been incorporated in the bill to be designated a money bill.
Chidambaram, the former Finance Minister, was trying to convince the bench that the bill was certified as a money bill to avoid its scrutiny before the Rajya Sabha which does not have any say on a money bill.
"More and more bills are certified as money bills to bypass the Rajya Sabha," Chidambaram told the bench which asked, "what ex-facie can you show us in it (Aadhaar bill) that does not fall in the criteria for money bill".
However, after Rohatgi said the bill fulfilled all the constitutional requirements including that all the expenditure incurred on subsidies for welfare scheme would be withdrawan from the consolidated fund, the bench told the Congress leader that before this submission by the Attorney General, it was in agreement with the points raised by them.
"We were quite agreeable but now certain points have been raised by the Attorney General," the bench said. Rohatgi submitted that the Speaker of the House was a high constitutional post and decisions are taken with responsibility.
However, the bench said, "So be it. But does it mean it cannot be examined. We are also holding constitutional posts. We also pass judgements and the constitution bench overturns them".
"This is a serious issue. Your (Centre) intention may be good," the bench observed.