Money Bills in Indian Parliament under Indian Constitution
Article 110 of the Indian constitution stipulates that a bill in Parliament is to be deemed as a money bill if it relates to
- (a) imposition, abolition or, alteration of any tax,
- (b) borrowing of money by the Government of India,
- (c) the custody of the Consolidated Fund and the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or, the withdrawal of money from such funds
- (d) the appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India
- (e) declaring any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India
- (f) audit of accounts of the union or, of any state Under Art. 110 it is clear, that a bill is a money bill only if it relates to all or any of the six Courts specified in the article.
Whether or not a bill is a money bill is finally decided by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. A bill which the Speaker certifies to be a money bill is a money bill and the decision of the Speaker cannot be questioned.
Thus all financial bills are not money bills. Only these financial bills as are certified by the Speaker to be money bills are money bills.
Money Bill Vs. Ordinary Bill
Parliament’s procedure of passing a money bill is somewhat different from the procedure of passing an ordinary bill.
Firstly, all money bills are Government bills and are introduced in the Parliament with the previous sanction of the President. Only ministers are entitled to introduce money bills in the Parliament.
Secondly, money bills are introduced only in the Lok Sabha. They cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. Thus in the process of passing a money bill, the preponderance of the House of People is unquestioned.
After a money bill is introduced in the House of People, it has to pass through the same stages as an ordinary bill has to i.e. it has to pass through the First Reading, the Second Reading, the Committee and the Report stage and finally the Third Reading, successively.
The bill is transmitted to the Council of States after it is passed by the House of People. The Council of States must return the bill to the Lower House with or without amendments within 14 days. The Council of States cannot reject a money bill nor can it detain a money bill for more than 14 days.
If the Rajya Sabha accepts the money bill, it is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament. If the Rajya Sabha suggests amendments, and the amendments are accepted by the Lok Sabha, the amended bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses. If the Lok Sabha does not accept any amendment suggested by the Rajya Sabha. The bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses of the Parliament in its original form. Thus the Rajya Sabha can at best delay a money bill by 14 days. It can never kill a money bill, like the U. S. Senate. The delaying power of the House of Lords in England is one month.
After the bill is finally passed by the Lok Sabha it is presented to the President for his assent. The President however cannot withhold assent to a money bill as, such bills are introduced in the Parliament with the previous assent of the President.
It should be noted that the annual budget of the Union Government is the most important money bill passed by the Parliament every year. Thus the procedure of passing the budget is the same as the procedure of passing a money bill. However the budget has to be passed before 1st April every year because the financial year begins from 1st April. If the budget is not passed within 1st April, the Parliament has to grant money to the Government in advance to carry on the administration till the budget is passed. This is known as vote-on-account. The Parliament also may pass supplementary demands, when the Government needs money beyond budgetary grant. On the whole, it is the Lok Sabha which has the final say. It is quite in the fitness of things because Lok Sabha is the House that represents the nation as a whole.