"(a) the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;(b) the regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India;(c) the custody of the consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund;(d) the appropriation of moneys out of the consolidated Fund of India;(e) the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;(f) the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or(g) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub clause (a) to (f)."
33. First, we shall take up the issue pertaining to the introduction of the Bill as a money bill in the State legislature. Mr. Vinoo Bhagat, learned counsel appearing for some of the appellants, has laid emphasis on the said aspect. Article 199 of the Constitution, defines Money Bills. For our present purpose, sub-article (3) of Article 199 being relevant is reproduced below:-
“(3). If any question arises whether a Bill introduced in the Legislature of a State which has a Legislative Council is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of such State thereon shall be final.”
We have extracted the same as we will be referring to the authorities as regards interpretation of the said sub-article.
34. Placing reliance on Article 199, learned counsel would submit that the present Act which was introduced as a money bill has remotely any connection with the concept of money bill. It is urged by him that the State has made a Sisyphean endeavour to establish some connection. The High Court to repel the challenge had placed reliance upon Article 212 which stipulates that the validity of any proceedings in the Legislature of a State shall not be called in question on the ground of any alleged irregularity of procedure.
35. Learned counsel for the appellants has drawn inspiration from a passage from Special Reference No. 1 of 1964, wherein it has been held that Article 212(1) lays down that the validity of any proceedings in the legislature of a State shall not be called in question on the ground of any alleged irregularity of procedure and Article 212(2) confers immunity on the officers and members of the legislature in whom powers are vested by or under the Constitution for regulating procedure or the conduct of business, or for maintaining order, in the legislature from being subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise by him of those powers. The Court opined that Article 212(1) seems to make it possible for a citizen to call in question in the appropriate Court of law the validity of any proceedings inside the Legislative Chamber if his case is that the said proceedings suffer not from mere irregularity of procedure, but from an illegality. If the impugned procedure is illegal and unconstitutional, it would be open to be scrutinised in a Court of law, though such scrutiny is prohibited if the complaint against the procedure is not more than that the procedure was irregular. Thus, the said authority has made a distinction between illegality of procedure and irregularity of procedure.
36. Our attention has also been drawn to certain paragraphs from the Constitution Bench decision in Raja Ram Pal v. Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha and Others. In the said case, in paragraphs 360 and 366, it has been held thus:-
“360. The question of extent of judicial review of parliamentary matters has to be resolved with reference to the provision contained in Article 122(1) that corresponds to Article 212 referred to in M.S.M. Sharma v. Dr. Shree Krishna Sinha, AIR 1960 SC 1186 [Pandit Sharma (II)]. On a plain reading, Article 122(1) prohibits “the validity of any proceedings in Parliament” from being “called in question” in a court merely on the ground of “irregularity of procedure”. In other words, the procedural irregularities cannot be used by the court to undo or vitiate what happens within the four walls of the legislature. But then, “procedural irregularity” stands in stark contrast to “substantive illegality’ which cannot be found included in the former. We are of the considered view that this specific provision with regard to check on the role of the judicial organ vis-à-vis proceedings in Parliament uses language which is neither vague nor ambiguous and, therefore, must be treated as the constitutional mandate on the subject, rendering unnecessary search for an answer elsewhere or invocation of principles of harmonious construction.
366. The touchstone upon which parliamentary actions within the four walls of the legislature were examined was both the constitutional as well as substantive law. The proceedings which may be tainted on account of substantive illegality or unconstitutionality, as opposed to those suffering from mere irregularity thus cannot be held protected from judicial scrutiny by Article 122(1) inasmuch as the broad principle laid down in Bradlaugh, (1884) 12 QBD 271 : 53 LJQB 290 : 50 LT 620, acknowledging exclusive cognizance of the legislature in England has no application to the system of governance provided by our Constitution wherein no organ is sovereign and each organ is amenable to constitutional checks and controls, in which scheme of things, this Court is entrusted with the duty to be watchdog of and guarantor of the Constitution.”
37. In this regard, we may profitably refer to the authority in Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another, wherein a three-Judge Bench while dealing with such a challenge, held that Article 212 precludes the courts from interfering with the presentation of a Bill for assent to the Governor on the ground of non-compliance with the procedure for passing Bills, or from otherwise questioning the Bills passed by the House, for proceedings inside the legislature cannot be called into question on the ground that they have not been carried on in accordance with the Rules of Business. Thereafter, the Court referring to Article 199(3) ruled that the decision of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly that the Bill in question was a Money Bill is final and the said decision cannot be disputed nor can the procedure of the State Legislature be questioned by virtue of Article 212. The Court took note of the decision in Raja Ram Pal (supra) wherein it has been held that the proceedings which may be tainted on account of substantive or gross irregularity or unconstitutionality are not protected from judicial scrutiny. Eventually, the Court repelled the challenge.
38. In our considered opinion, the authorities cited by the learned counsel for the appellants do not render much assistance, for the introduction of a bill, as has been held in Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui (supra), comes within the concept of “irregularity” and it does come with the realm of substantiality. What has been held in the Special Reference No. 1 of 1964 (supra) has to be appositely understood. The factual matrix therein was totally different than the case at hand as we find that the present controversy is wholly covered by the pronouncement in Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui (supra) and hence, we unhesitatingly hold that there is no merit in the submission so assiduously urged by the learned counsel for the appellants.