Macro/Finance Group, NIPFP

Judicial Review and Money Bills

Judicial review and money bills, Pratik Datta, Shefali Malhotra and Shivangi Tyagi. NUJS Law Review, Volume 10 Issue 2 (2017).

Under the Constitution of India, for a bill to be enacted into a law, it has to be approved by both Houses of the Parliament - the Lower House (Lok Sabha) and the Upper House (Rajya Sabha). There is one exception to this general rule. A bill certified as a 'money bill' by the speaker of the Lower House can be enacted into a law by the Lower House alone, without any approval from the Upper House. The scope of what could constitute a 'money bill' is defined in the Constitution of India. Yet, it is possible that a bill which does not fall within the scope of this definition could be incorrectly certified as a 'money bill' by the speaker and enacted into a law without the approval of the Upper House. The Constitution of India categorically states that 'if any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final'. Does this provision imply that the Indian Supreme Court cannot review whether the speaker's certification of a bill as a 'money bill' is correct or not? And if it is actually incorrect, can the Supreme Court not strike down such a law for being unconstitutional? These questions are of immense contemporary relevance in India and form the central research theme of this article.