The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Finance Bill without including the amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha’ the previous day. Opposition members in the Upper House had passed the Bill on Wednesday proposing five amendments to the legislation. However, the Lower House rejected the proposed changes as it was tabled as a Money Bill by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and does not need approval from the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is in minority.
Three of the amendments were moved by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and the other two by the Communist Party of India(Marxist). The Lok Sabha has the power to overrule amendments in case of a Money Bill.
This comes as more than 200 eminent citizens, including jurist Fali S Nariman, economist Jayati Ghosh and musician TM Krishna, have opposed the classification of the Finance Bill, 2017, as a Money Bill, calling it an “illegitimate” move that undermines the Constitution. Jaitley, however, has defended the legislation, saying it protects the source of information for tax evasion.
The Lower House had passed the Finance Bill on March 22, making Aadhaar mandatory to file income tax returns from July 1 and to apply for a permanent account number. The 92-page document included 40 amendments to a number of Acts. The BJP government’s bill also seeks to remove caps for corporate funding to parties, allow them to make donations anonymously, and lower the limit for cash transaction.