Money Bill – Article 110

Introduction


  • A Money Bill in India is a crucial component of the country’s legislative process, with significant implications for its financial management.
  • It is a type of financial legislation that exclusively pertains to matters related to taxation, government expenditure, borrowing, or the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Unlike other bills, which can be introduced in either house of Parliament, a Money Bills only introduce in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament.

Definition of Money Bill


  • In the Indian Constitution, Article 110 defines a Money Bill as a bill that exclusively contains provisions dealing with any of the following matters:
The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax
The regulation of the borrowing of money by the Union government
The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India or the contingency fund of India, the payment of money into or the withdrawal of money from any such fund
The appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India
Declaration of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or increasing the amount of any such expenditure
The receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money, or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a state
Any matter incidental to any of the matters specified above

Financial Bill – Article 117 of Indian Constitution


  • Financial Bills are dealt with under Articles 117 (1) and Article 117 (3) of the Indian Constitution.
  • While a Money Bill is a specific type of Financial Bill, it’s important to note that not all Financial Bills are Money Bills.
Aspect Money Bill Financial Bill
Definition A Money Bill is a type of financial legislation that deals specifically with matters related to taxation, borrowing, government expenditure, and other financial matters. A Financial Bill is a broader category of legislation that encompasses both Money Bills and Bills that deal with other financial matters, such as appropriation of funds.
Introduction A Money Bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and not in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). A Financial Bill can be introduced in either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
Approval A Money Bill must be passed by the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha can only make recommendations on it. The President’s approval is required for it to become law. A Financial Bill must be passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The President’s approval is also required.
Rajya Sabha’s Powers The Rajya Sabha has limited powers regarding Money Bills. It can only make recommendations, and the Lok Sabha may choose to accept or reject them. The Rajya Sabha has equal legislative powers with the Lok Sabha when it comes to Financial Bills other than Money Bills.
Speaker’s Certification The Speaker of the Lok Sabha certifies a Bill as a Money Bill. This certification is final and cannot be questioned. The Speaker’s certification is not required for Financial Bills.
Scope Money Bills deal exclusively with financial and taxation matters. Financial Bills can cover a broader range of financial and economic issues, including appropriation of money from the Consolidated Fund of India.
Example The Union Budget is typically presented as a Money Bill. Bills related to government policies, taxation, and appropriation of funds are usually presented as Financial Bills.

 

Role of Lok Sabha in Money Bill Process


  • The Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament, plays a crucial role in the legislative process, including the consideration and passage of money bills.
  • Here’s a brief overview of the Lok Sabha’s role in money bills:

Introduction of Money Bills:

  • Money bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
  • The President of India, on the advice of the Council of Ministers, introduces money bills in the Lok Sabha.

Speaker’s Certification:

  • Before a money bill is introduced, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha has the responsibility to certify whether it is indeed a money bill as per the criteria laid out in Article 110.
  • The Speaker’s decision in this regard is final and cannot be questioned.

Exclusive Lok Sabha Control:

  • Once a bill is certified as a money bill, it can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament).
  • This ensures that the Lok Sabha has exclusive control over financial matters.

Debate and Discussion:

  • Once a money bill is introduced, it goes through a rigorous process of debate and discussion in the Lok Sabha.
  • This allows for a thorough examination of the proposed fiscal measures and ensures transparency in financial decision-making.

Voting and Passing of Money Bills:

  • The Lok Sabha members vote on money bills, and if they are approved, they are considered passed.
  • This signifies the democratic endorsement of financial decisions that have a direct impact on the lives of Indian citizens.

Limited Powers of the Rajya Sabha


  • While the Rajya Sabha plays a crucial role in India’s legislative process, it has limited powers when it comes to money bills.

No Amendment Powers:

  • The Rajya Sabha can discuss and debate money bills, but it cannot amend them.
  • The Constitution of India, under Article 109, explicitly states that money bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, and the Rajya Sabha can only make recommendations on them.
  • These recommendations may or may not be accepted by the Lok Sabha.

Time Constraint:

  • The Rajya Sabha has a limited timeframe within which it must consider money bills.
  • It can delay the bill for a maximum of 14 days, after which it is deemed to have been passed by both houses, even if the Rajya Sabha has not approved it.

Limited Debate:

  • While the Rajya Sabha can discuss money bills, the scope of debate is relatively restricted compared to other bills.
  • The discussion primarily focuses on the principles and policies of the bill rather than its specific provisions.

No Veto Power:

  • Unlike some other countries where the upper house can veto or block money bills, the Rajya Sabha does not have the power to veto or reject them.
  • Its role is advisory in nature, and the Lok Sabha’s decision ultimately prevails.

The President’s Role


Assent to Money Bills:

  • Once a money bill is passed by the Lok Sabha, it is sent to the President of India for their assent.
  • However, the President’s role is largely ceremonial in this context.
  • They must grant their assent if the bill meets the criteria of a money bill, ensuring that the will of the elected representatives prevails.

President’s Discretion:

  • While the President’s role is primarily ceremonial, there is an element of discretion.
  • If there are doubts about whether a bill qualifies as a money bill, the President can seek clarification from the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • This process underscores the importance of adhering to the definition and principles of money bills.

Critiques and Controversies


  • Despite their crucial role in India’s fiscal management, money bills have been the subject of criticism and controversy.

Challenges in Determining What Constitutes a Money Bill:

  • One recurring challenge is determining whether a proposed legislation qualifies as a money bill.
  • Sometimes, bills that primarily deal with taxation or expenditure are introduced as money bills to bypass the Rajya Sabha, leading to disputes and legal challenges.

Potential for Abuse:

  • Critics argue that the exclusivity of money bills in the Lok Sabha can be abused by the ruling party, as it limits the scrutiny and input from the Rajya Sabha.
  • This can lead to hasty or poorly thought-out fiscal decisions.

Recent Controversial Money Bills:

  • Recent years have seen several high-profile money bills that sparked debates and controversies.
  • These bills have highlighted the need for clarity and transparency in the money bill process.

Conclusion


  • In conclusion, money bills are a critical aspect of India’s parliamentary system, serving as a means to ensure that financial decisions are in line with the will of the people.
  • While controversies and challenges exist, their role in shaping India’s fiscal landscape cannot be understated.
  • Understanding money bills is essential for every citizen, as they directly impact the economic well-being of the nation.

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