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Constitutional Bodies

This article is the part of Polity Guide Initiative. To access complete material – Click Here 

ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

The Constitution provides Election Commission of India with the power of direction, superintendence, and control of elections to parliament, state legislatures, the office of president of India and the office of vice-president of India.

  • Permanent, independent body established under Article 324
  • The body consists of one chief election commissioner and such members as the president may fix, appointment is also done by president. Currently there are 2 Election Commissioners in addition to the CEC.
  • The CEC and ECs have the same powers and emoluments including salaries, which are the same as a Supreme Court judge.
  • The constitution doesn’t mention any qualification for either of the commissioners, nor does it restrict retiring commissioners from taking further appointment under the government.
  • They hold the office for a period of 6 years or till 65, whichever is earlier.
  • The chief election commissioner cannot be removed except in the same manner as judge of the Supreme Court,
    • The other commissioners can be removed only after advice of the chief election commissioner

Powers and Functions

  • To decide the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies throughout the country on the basis of the Delimitation Commission Act of Parliament.
  • Preparing and periodically revising electoral rolls and registering all eligible voters.
  • To act as a court for settling disputes related to granting of recognition to political parties and allotment of election symbol to them
  • It issues the Model Code of Conduct in every election for political parties and candidates so that the decorum of democracy is maintained.
  • To advise the President and the Governors relating to disqualification of MPs or MLAs.
  • Advising the President on whether elections can be held in a state that is under the President’s rule, in order to extend the period of emergency after 1 year.

 

COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL OF INDIA

  • Article 148 of the constitution provides for an independent comptroller and auditor general of India.
  • Appointed by the president for a period of 6 years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • He can be removed from his office in the same manner as judge of the Supreme Court on the grounds of proved misbehavior.
  • His salary and terms of service cannot be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment.
  • Not eligible for further office under Government of India or under the Government of state.
  • Office expenses; salaries and allowances of members of the office; charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Article 149 deals with Duties and Powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.
  • Article 150 says that the accounts of the Union and of the States shall be kept in such form as the President may on the advice of the CAG prescribe.
  • Article 151 says that the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India relating to the accounts of the Union shall be submitted to the president, who shall cause them to be laid before each House of Parliament.
  • Article 279 – Calculation of “net proceeds” is ascertained and certified by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, whose certificate is final.
  • His administrative powers and the conditions of service of persons serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department are prescribed by the President only after consulting him.

Functions and Power of CAG

  • CAG derives its audit mandate from different sources like–
    • Constitution (Articles 148 to 151)
    • The CAG (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971
    • Important Judgments
    • Instructions of Government of India
    • Regulations on Audit & Accounts-2007
  • CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditure from
    • Consolidated Fund of India,
    • Consolidated Fund of each state and UT’s having a legislative assembly.
  • He audits all expenditure from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the Contingency Fund and Public Account of each state.
  • He audits department of the Central Government and the state governments and all bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or State revenues; government companies; other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.
  • He audits the accounts of any other authority when requested by the President or Governor e.g. Local bodies.
  • He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of the Centre to the President, who shall, in turn, place them before both the houses of Parliament. (to Governor in states)
  • CAG also acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

 

UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

  • Mandated to be the prime recruiting agency of the government of India.
  • Consist of Chairman and other members as appointed by the president of India.
  • The constitution doesn’t specify the strength.
  • Only mandating that half of the members should be people who’ve held office under the government of India or state for at least 10 years in the past.
  • The chairman and member hold office until the age of 65 years or 6 years from the date of appointment, whichever is earlier.
  • Removal by the President for
    • Getting adjudged insolvent,
    • Engaging in Paid employment outside the office or
    • In the opinion of the president is of infirm mind.
    • Misbehavior, however in this case, a formal SC enquiry is needed.
  • The salary and term of office cannot be varied to the members’ disadvantage.
  • The chairman of UPSC is not eligible for any future appointment under the union or the state, the member can be however appointed as the chairman.

Functions

  • The UPSC conducts examination for All-India Services Central Services and Public Services for different Indian states and Union territory.
  • The UPSC serves the interests of the State on the demand of the Governor and with the consent of the President of India.
  • The UPSC shall be consulted in the matters of:
    • Demands for compensation of legal express obtained by a civil servant in defending proceeding instituted against him.
    • Matters relating to the interim appointments for period exceeding one year
    • Matters of personnel management etc.

 

State Public Service Commission

  • An independent constitutional body mandated to be the prime recruiting agency of the government of states
  • The SPSC’s consist of chairman and other members as appointed by the Governor of the state.
  • The chairman and member hold office until the age of 62 years or 6 years from the date of appointment, whichever is earlier.
  • The constitution specifically mandates the appointment to be done by the governor and the removal by the president of members and chairman alike.
  • The chairman of SPSC is eligible for appointment under as member or chairperson of the UPSC, the members can be however appointed as the chairman. Of SPSC or member or chairperson of UPSC.

 

Joint State Public Service Commission

  • The constitution provides for establishment for JPSC for two or more states.
  • JPSC are created by an act of parliament on the request of the state legislature concerned, thus JPSC are statutory body and not constitutional body.
  • The chairman and the members are appointed by the president. They hold office for a period of 6 years or 62 years whichever is earlier.
  • They can be suspended or removed by the president. The number of members and condition of service are determined by the president.

 

FINANCE COMMISSION

  • Article 280 provides for establishing a finance commission every 5 years by the President.
  • FC is required to make recommendations to the President of India on issues –
    • Distribution of the net proceeds of taxes between the Centre and states,
    • The principles of grants-in-aid to states by the Centre.
    • It also provides advice on any other matter referred by the president.
  • The commission consists of a Chairman and Four other members appointed by the President.
  • The constitution authorizes the parliament to fix the qualification and as per the As per the provisions contained in the Finance Commission [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act, 1951
    • The chairman should be a person experienced in public affairs.
    • 4 Members:
  • A judge of High Court or one qualified to be appointed.
  •  One who has specialised knowledge of finance and accounts of the govt.
  •  One who has wide experience in financial matters and administration.
  • One who has special knowledge of economics.
  • The tenure of the office of the Member of the Finance Commission is specified by the President of India and in some cases, the members are also re-appointed.
  • The role of FC is purely advisory in nature.
15th Finance Commission

  • Constituted by the President in November 2017. It is headed by N K Singh
  • deliberation period from end of 2017 to end of October 2019
  • The recommendations would be applicable for the period from 2020-2025

Terms of References

  • The distribution of tax proceeds between the centre and states
  • Principles governing grant in aid to the states
  • Measures to be taken to augment the consolidated fund of states
  • Review the impact of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations on the fiscal position of the centre
  • Review the debt level of the centre and states, and recommend a roadmap
  • Study the impact of GST on the economy
  • Recommend performance-based incentives for states based on their efforts to control population, promote ease of doing business, and control expenditure on populist measures, among others
  • If a provision of revenue deficit grants is required.

 

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES (NCSC)

  • National commission for scheduled castes is a constitutional body directly established under Article 338.
  • The 89th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003 bifurcated the combined national commission for SC’s and ST’s into two separate bodies.
  • Apart from the Chairman, there is a Vice-chairman and three other members.

Functions

  • Investigating and monitoring all matters relating to the constitutional and legal safeguards for the scheduled castes.
  • It also seeks to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the SC’s
  • It annually presents a report to the President on working of safeguards mentioned for the scheduled castes in the constitution.
  • The commission is also expected to discharge the similar functions with respect to the Anglo Indian community. The power for OBC was transferred to NCBC after it was accorded constitutional status.

 

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED TRIBES (NCST)

  • National commission for scheduled tribes is a constitutional body directly established by Article 338-A
  • The functions include investigating and monitoring all matters relating to the constitutional and legal safeguards for the scheduled tribes.
  • It also seeks to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the ST’s
  • It annually presents a report to the President on working of safeguards mentioned for the scheduled tribes in the constitution.
  • The central and state governments are required to consult NCST on matters pertaining to Scheduled Tribes.
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