Opposition to debate excise duty hike on petrol

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on December 05, 2014

Rajya Sabha circulates CPI(M)’s motion; Congress to lend support

The fag end of the Winter Session is set to see some fireworks with Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari accepting the Opposition’s motion challenging the Centre for increasing the excise duty on petrol and diesel.

The motion moved by the CPI(M) is likely to be circulated among the elders before Monday.

Support to motion

The Opposition hopes the motion will be taken up for discussion in the Upper House soon. The Business Advisory Committee of Rajya Sabha, chaired by the Chairman, will take a final decision on the motion.

Centre unperturbed

The Congress is also gearing up for a debate and voting on the issue.

“We will lend our support to the motion moved by Opposition members. We are opposed to the Centre’s decision to increase excise duty,” deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told BusinessLine.

The Centre, however, seemed unperturbed by the development. “It is up to the Chairman to decide whether the motion should be discussed in the House. We will wait for his decision,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs MA Naqvi said.

The Centre has been maintaining that the money it will mop by the hike in excise duty will be used for welfare schemes.

Experts point out that the amendment to the Finance Ministry’s notification in either of the Houses will force the Centre to withdraw the notification.

“The Central Excise Act empowers the Centre to review excise duty on products.

But, Parliament is supreme and it can be done only with the approval of the House. If either of the two Houses reject or amend the notification, the government will have to recall it,” said former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary.

Not a money Bill

He further said that though the notification is for collecting duty, an amendment to it through a statutory motion is not considered a money Bill.

“The treatment for statutory motion is different. If one House rejects the Government’s notification, the Finance Ministry has no other option but to withdraw it,” he added.

Published on December 05, 2014

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