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Finance Bill, 2017 certified as Money Bill by Speaker, court can't interfere: Centre to SC

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that Finance Bill of 2017 was certified as a Money Bill by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and judicial review of that decision cannot be done.
The government said the court cannot question the speaker's decision of certifying a bill as a Money Bill and it is a well settled law.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was told by Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, that petitioners' contention that certification of Finance Bill of 2017 as Money Bill was not right cannot be a ground for a challenge to the Bill.
"The Act of 2017 deals with various aspects of finance. Speaker of the House gave the certification that Finance Act was a Money Bill. Finance Act of 2017 was passed by the Parliament as a Money Bill irrespective of the objections in Rajya Sabha," Venugopal said.
The Attorney General told the bench also comprising Justices N V Ramana, DY Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna that apex court has repeatedly held in its verdicts that certification cannot be questioned and courts cannot inquire into the decision taken by Parliament.
"This aspect is consistent with the broad parameters of separation of powers given in the Constitution. Similarly, Parliament cannot interfere with the affairs of judiciary," he said.
The Attorney General countered the contention of petitioners that Finance Act of 2017 cannot be certified as a Money Bill saying, "Certification of a particular Act as a Money Bill is an internal functions of the Parliament. If there is any dispute, the Speaker can applies his mind and takes a decision. No one can questions the bonafide of the Speaker and all members abide by the decision."

He said Finance Bill comprises of amendments to several Acts and statutes and the petitioners have challenged only one particular aspect saying it cannot be termed as Money Bill.
"The certification of Money Bill is for the whole Finance Bill and saying that a part of the Bill does not qualify for the Money Bill cannot be held to be correct," the Attorney General said.
The top court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Finance Bill of 2017.
During the hearing, senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the petitioners said that the Finance Bill cannot be held as a Money Bill.
The hearing remained inconclusive and would continue on April 2.
On March 27, the apex court had sought centre's view on bringing all the tribunals under one central umbrella body for ensuring "efficient functioning" and "streamlining the working" of quasi-judicial bodies.
The top court had said it would not like to be bogged down with what is right or wrong and all it wants was that "the tribunals work efficiently and independently".
The court had said it is tentatively of the view that directions given by the apex court in its two verdicts of 1997 and 2010 for bringing all the tribunals of the country under one nodal agency should have been "implemented long back".

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First Published: Mar 28 2019 | 8:25 PM IST

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