Opposition parties claimed the Finance Bill was brought in “total contravention” of rules of business and the Constitution.
N K Premachandran of the RSP raised a point of order and objected to the inclusion of non-taxation proposals in the Finance Bill; the Congress’s K V Thomas and the CPM’s Mohd Salim supported his contention. Some leaders complained they had received official amendments to the bill very late, leaving them with little time to study them.
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Trinamool MP Saugata Roy said the finance minister had come out with last-minute amendments as he had made “mistakes”. “Nowadays it is late-night operation and last-minute thinking.”
“What Mr (Arun) Jaitley, the experienced lawyer, has done in the Finance Bill is totally in contravention of the rules of business and the Constitution. The mandate of a bill is to give effect to the financial proposals of the central government for the financial year 2015-16. So, simply, it would be proposals on direct taxes, excise, customs, service taxes and all exemptions only. This bill should have contained only these items. For the last many years of our Constitution, that has been the shape of the Finance Bill,” the TMC MP said, demanding the bill be withdrawn and a fresh one introduced.
Jaitley insisted that rules cannot override the Constitution.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan agreed with the opposition that the government had brought in several amendments to the Finance Bill at the last minute. “In future, you (government) should see to it that members get sufficient time to consider the amendments,” Mahajan said.