Private member’s bill in Rajya Sabha on Andhra referred to Speaker

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New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien on Saturday referred a private member’s bill on granting special status to Andhra Pradesh to the Lok Sabha Speaker to decide if it was a money bill.

Members of parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented or moved by them are private member’s bills.

The bill by K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao of the Congress sought to give special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Rao’s Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, which has been at the centre of debate for the last two weeks, was to be put to vote on Friday in the Rajya Sabha which has the opposition in majority.

The opposition has been accusing the central government of not honouring its promise on special status to Andhra Pradesh.

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In the Rajya Sabha, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley objected to the draft legislation and said it was a money bill.

Bills which exclusively contain provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund, etc., are certified as money bills. Money bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha.

“We must be clear about where we stand as regards jurisdiction of the upper house. There is no distinction between a bill moved by government and that by a private member,” Jaitley said.

“Article 117 is very clear… money bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. A money bill can be only voted in the Lok Sabha, and third, if a dispute arises as to whether a particular bill is money bill or not, it’s only the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha who can decide,” Jaitley said.

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Kurien then sought suggestions from other members on whether the bill tabled by Rao should be considered a money bill.

Congress member Kapil Sibal said every bill eventually entails drawing fund from the Consolidated Fund of India.

“Every legislation has impact on the Consolidated Fund of India,” Sibal said.

Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav said, “Common sense says if the bill was introduced in this house, it is not a money bill.”

Kurien, however, ruled that the decision on whether the bill was a money bill or not should be referred to the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The Deputy Chairman quoted rules and said objection on the bill can be raised at the stage of introduction, or subsequently at any stage if the bill is felt to be a money bill.

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“If the Chairman has a doubt that it is a money bill, then it has to be terminated. If the Chairman has a doubt, he can refer it to the Lok Sabha Speaker,” Kurien said reading out from the rule book.

“In a way, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is vested with zero power on deciding money bill.”

“Since the matter is not free from doubt, I therefore under Rule 1868 refer the matter to the honourable Speaker for a decision. Till then further proceedings in connection to the bill is deferred,” Kurien said.

While the treasury benches welcomed the decision with thumping of desks, Congress members trooped near the Chairman’s podium shouting slogans against the government.

In the din, the house was adjourned for the day.



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