New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien on Friday ordered removal of The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, from the house register on pending bills since it "is a financial bill" and ended further discussions on it forthwith.
"After going through the Bill's provisions carefully, and considered advice of the Ministry of Law and Justice, I hold the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, is a financial bill within the meaning of Clause(1) of Article 117 of the Constitution," Mr Kurien announced in the house.
"Accordingly, I terminate further discussion on the bill forthwith. I direct the bill be removed from the register of bills pending in the council," he added.
The Lok Sabha Speaker had decided that the bill was "not a money bill" within the meaning of Article 110 of the Constitution.
But the Lok Sabha Secretary General and the Law Ministry took exception to the Speaker's view, and suggested that since the bill involves setting up of a separate high court for Andhra Pradesh, it is a category 'A' financial bill, which can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
The said bill was introduced by Congress leader KVP Ramachandra Rao as a private member's bill in 2015. On August 5, while it was being considered in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised an objection that it was a money bill.
Subsequently, further proceedings on the bill were deferred and the matter referred to the Lok Sabha Speaker under Rule 186 (8).
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said: "Article 110(3) of the Constitution says only the Lok Sabha Speaker can decide whether a bill is a money bill or not. The Lok Sabha Speaker decided that the Andhra Bill is not a money bill."
"The Constitution does not recognise the Law Ministry; it does not recognise the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha. It only recognises the Speaker... so, the Finance Minister misled the upper house (that it is a money bill) and prevented a discussion on the private member's bill."
Mr Ramesh and another Congress MP, Digvijay Singh, said the Congress would move the Supreme Court against the decision.
"I am amazed and shocked by the decision taken by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, as announced by the Deputy Chairman today (Friday). They have gone against the fundamentals of Article 110(3) of the Constitution," Mr Singh said.