You Might Like

In the Westminster system (and, colloquially, in the United States), a money bill or supply bill is a bill that solely concerns taxation or government spending (also known as appropriation of money), as opposed to changes in public law.


It is often a constitutional convention that the upper house may not block a money bill. There is often another requirement that non-money bill-type clauses may not be attached to a money bill. The rationale behind this convention is that the upper house, being appointed or indirectly elected, should not have any right to decide on taxation and public expenditure-related policies as may be framed by the directly elected representatives of the lower house. Therefore, money bills are an exception to the general rule that for a bill to be enacted into a law, it has to be approved by both Houses of the Parliament—the lower house and the upper house.[1]

Loss of supply in the lower house is conventionally considered to be an expression of the house's loss of confidence in the government resulting in the government's fall.

Requirements in Westminster systems

A supply bill in the Australian System is required to pass the House of Representatives, the Senate and be signed by the Governor-General. The Senate has no power or ability to introduce or modify a supply bill, but has the ability to block or defer the passing of a supply bill. The most famous instance where supply was blocked was during the 1975 constitutional crisis. This has resulted in agreements between political parties to prevent the blockage of supply bills through the Senate.

A money bill is specifically defined by Article 81 of the Constitution of Bangladesh. The President of Bangladesh can send back all bills passed by the Parliament for a review except a money bill. However, a money bill can be introduced to the Parliament only at the President's recommendation. Additionally, tax can only be levied by the Parliament.[2]

Procedure for a Money Bill:

The concept of money bills in India came to the forefront during the enactment of the Aadhar Act, 2016. In spite of resistance by the opposition, the Aadhaar Bill was certified as a ‘money bill’ by the Speaker of the Lower House. The Upper House proposed certain amendments, but ultimately the BJP-dominated Lower House rejected the amendments suggested by the Upper House and unilaterally enacted the Aadhar Act, 2016. Immediately thereafter, Jairam Ramesh, a senior Congress leader, challenged the speaker’s decision to treat the Aadhar Bill as a ‘money bill’ before the Supreme Court of India. Article 110(3) of the Constitution of India categorically states that 'if any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final'. Therefore, one of the prime constitutional questions before the Supreme Court is whether it can review the speaker’s certificate classifying a bill as a ‘money bill’. In three prior cases, the Supreme Court of India has refused to review the Speaker's certificate. However, some commentators have argued that the Court's earlier judgements were incorrect and Article 110(3) made the Speaker’s decision "final" for the purpose of the two Houses of the Parliament, not for the Supreme Court of India.[5] This argument is further supported by the fact that in Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu (AIR 1993 SC 412) [17] , the "final" decision of the speaker regarding disqualification of members of the House under the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution was held to be a judicial decision subject to judicial review. This suggests that the "final" status given by the Indian constitution does not automatically immune the Indian speaker's decision or certificate from judicial review.[6] In view of this crucial constitutional question, it has been suggested that the Supreme Court in Jairam Ramesh v. Union of India should create a constitution bench of at least nine judges to settle the law on this issue.[7] The five judge bench decided that the Aadhar Bill was a Money Bill by a vote of 4–1.

In the Republic of Ireland, the Senate may not delay a money bill (Irish: bille airgid)[8] more than 21 days. The President of Ireland may not refuse to sign a money bill and may not refer such a bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality. Procedures exist for resolution of disputes as to whether a Bill is a money bill. Since the 1922 constitution (as amended by the Constitution (Amendment No. 12) Act 1930) and under the 1937 constitution, such disputes can be resolved by a committee on privileges.

In the United Kingdom, section 1(1) of the Parliament Act 1911 provides that the House of Lords may not delay a money bill more than a month. It is at the discretion of the Speaker of the House of Commons to certify which bills are money bills, and his decision is final and is not subject to challenge. Section 1(2) of the Act states:

The Parliament Act 1911 was the product of the political crisis of 1909. The People's Budget of 1909 proposed by the House of Commons was rejected by the House of Lords. A government whose budget (that is the Finance Bill) is rejected can only resign or dissolve Parliament, because without money it is impossible to govern. The rejection of the Finance Bill in 1909 by the Lords prompted the then British government to initiate steps to curtail the powers of the House of Lords in this regard. This is evident from the Preamble of the 1911 Act which states: "An Act to make provision with respect to the powers of the House of Lords in relation to those of the House of Commons ...".[10]

The reference to the National Loans Fund was inserted on 1 April 1968[11] by section 1(5) [18] of the National Loans Act 1968.

For this purpose, the expression "Public Bill" does not include any Bill for confirming a Provisional Order.

Bradley and Ewing said that the statutory definition of Money Bill is "strictly interpreted".[12] Most annual Finance Bills have not been certified to be Money Bills.[13][14][15]

Requirements in non-Westminster systems

While the United States of America is not a parliamentary democracy, the Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that all bills raising revenue originate in the House of Representatives, consistent with British constitutional practice; by convention, appropriation bills (bills that spend money) also originate in the House. Unlike in most Westminster systems, there are no limits on the Senate's ability to amend revenue bills or any requirement for the Senate to approve such bills within a certain timeframe. Both appropriations and revenue bills are often referred to as money bills to contrast them with authorization bills. The U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Munoz-Flores (1990) held that: "A law passed in violation of the Origination Clause would thus be no more immune from judicial scrutiny because it was passed by both Houses and signed by the President than would be a law passed in violation of the First Amendment".[16]

See also

You Might Like