The Supreme Court today said it would hear Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s plea challenging the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to certify a bill to amend the Aadhaar law as a money bill in the first week of November.
The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing Ramesh and was seeking an early hearing on the plea.
When the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the matter would be heard in the first week of November, Sibal requested for an earlier date as it had nothing to do with the batch of petitions pending in the main Aadhaar matter.
“Can’t it be heard earlier? It has nothing to do with the Aadhaar matter. It is about the issue related to money bill and has nothing to do with right to privacy,” Sibal said.
However, the bench said the plea would be heard in November. The apex court had on August 30 said it would hear a batch of petitions challenging the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes in the first week of November.
The apex court had in February observed that it was “tentatively not convinced” with Ramesh’s grounds to challenge the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to certify the bill to amend Aadhaar law as a money bill.
Observing that the issue was “important and serious” and it did not want to take a call on it in haste, the court had told the counsel appearing for Ramesh to prepare his case by taking into account all the objections raised by the Centre.
The Centre had opposed the plea saying that it fulfilled the criteria as the expenditure for the welfare schemes had to be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India.
Ramesh had earlier claimed in the apex court that the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 was certified as a money bill to avoid its scrutiny by the Rajya Sabha which does not have any say on such legislations.
The Bill was discussed and passed by the Lok Sabha on March 11 last year. It was taken up in the Rajya Sabha on March 16, where several amendments were made to it. The bill was returned the same evening to the Lok Sabha, which rejected all the amendments adopted by the Upper House and passed it without any of these changes.