FS Nariman, others write to Vice President Hamid Ansari on Finance Bill classification

The letter asks the Vice President, chairman of Rajya Sabha, to "allow extensive and uninterrupted discussion into every aspect of the Bill in the Upper House".

A group of eminent citizens, including noted jurist Fali S Nariman, has written to Vice President Hamid Ansari expressing concern over classification of the Finance Bill, 2017, as a Money Bill.

The Finance Bill, 2017, includes 40 amendments to a number of acts which have "far-reaching" consequences for not only several laws but the very nature of Indian democracy and Constitution, says the letter.

The letter asks the Vice President, chairman of Rajya Sabha, to "allow extensive and uninterrupted discussion into every aspect of the Bill in the Upper House".

It also urges him to "do everything else in his power" to ensure the practice of "by-passing" the Rajya Sabha for important bills by "illegitimately" classifying them as Money Bills is immediately stopped.

Besides Nariman, Girish Karnad, TM Krishna, Aruna Roy, Jayati Ghosh and 200 other citizen have expressed concern on the classification of the Finance Bill as Money Bill terming it as an "illegitimate" move by the government.

Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association for Democratic Reforms said amending 40 pieces of legislation through the Finance Bill without application of mind of the Rajya Sabha runs completely "against" the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

"While the government and the Speaker have ignored the concerns raised by the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, it has become a duty to speak out and raise concerns following the passage of a Bill that has in one fell swoop affected so many multiple rights that we normally take for granted," said economist Jayati Ghosh.