By Arpan Chaturvedi
The Aadhaar Act, which was passed as a money bill, should be struck down as its provisions had no relation to the nature of a Money Bill, Senior Advocate P Chidambaram argued in the Supreme Court today.
Once the bill has been passed, those provisions which fall foul of the money bill criteria cannot be severed, Chidambaram said before a five-judge Constitution bench of the top court hearing challenges to the Aadhaar scheme and the Aadhaar Act. If the Aadhaar Act is allowed to go through, it will set a dangerous precedent, he added.
A money bill bypasses the scrutiny of the Rajya Sabha as well as takes away the power of the President to send the bill back to the Parliament for reconsideration. Hence, there are strict criteria of what will qualify as a money bill, the senior advocate argued.
The government can introduce the Aadhaar Bill again as an ordinary bill if they want, he added.
Chidamabaram is representing Congress Leader Jairam Ramesh who had filed a public interest litigation challenging the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill. He has concluded his arguments and Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan will continue his arguments on behalf of the petitioners tomorrow.
Aadhaar Linking Deadline Extended
In an interim order, the Supreme Courtextended all deadlinesfor linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, mobile phones and other services indefinitely, till a judgement is pronounced in the matter. The biometric identification cannot be made mandatory expect for providing subsidies, the top court added.
On Dec. 15 last year, the Supreme Court had extended the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes till March 31, 2018.
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