On 3rd May 2018, the Government sought dismissal of Congress’ petition. The petition challenged the Lok Sabha speaker’s decision to designate the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill. The center stated that the speaker’s say was final. It is not open to judicial scrutiny.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s counsel Chidambaram had mentioned earlier that the speaker forcefully designated the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill. It was done to strip the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA didn’t have the majority to amend the bill.
According to a TOI report, Chidambaram asked, “Why should the House of Elders be shut off from suggesting changes in the law? Why should the President be deprived of giving his suggestions by marking Aadhaar as a money bill?”
Aadhaar Bill As Money Bill: Constitutional?
AG KK Venugopal stated that Article 110(1) is used to create Aadhaar identity for over citizen. He further stated that the bill can be categorized as a money bill. Moreover, the constitution permits the speaker’s decision to be final and non-justiciable. A bench of CJI Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud gave a warning. They said that the speaker’s decision was open to judicial scrutiny if mistakes were pointed out. Venugopal further elucidated that the expenditure to implement Aadhaar had been spent for payments regarding enrolments, logistics, infrastructure etc.
Venugopal noted that the petitioners argued that Aadhaar would be used to start surveillance on citizens. According to TOI, he stated, “What is alleged is that the government would enter into a conspiracy with UIDAI to put political opponents and other prominent citizens under surveillance by committing offense under the Aadhaar Act, which punishes storage of activities or sharing of data following authentication of identification through Aadhaar”.
He further said, “It was totally wrong on the part of the petitioners to argue that Aadhaar has made citizens live in a totalitarian regime or in a concentration camp where they are electronically leashed. A dog gets leashed. No one can argue that a democratically elected and constitutionally formed government can violate the law to leash its citizens, who are the ultimate holders of power in a democracy”.
The petitioners will present their reply on 10th May 2018.