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Extra Constitutional Bodies

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

NITI AAYOG

  • Planning Commission was replaced by a new institution – NITI AAYOG on January 1, 2015 with emphasis on ‘Bottom –Up’ approach to envisage the vision of Maximum Governance, Minimum Government, echoing the spirit of ‘Cooperative Federalism’.
  • The composition of NITI Aayog is as follows:
    • Chairperson: Prime Minister
    • Vice-Chairperson: To be appointed by Prime-Minister
    • Governing Council: Chief Ministers of all states and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.
    • Regional Council: To address specific regional issues, Comprising Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors Chaired by Prime Minister or his nominee.
    • Ad hoc Membership: 2 members in ex-officio capacity from leading Research institutions on rotational basis.
    • Ex-Officio membership: Maximum four from Union council of ministers to be nominated by Prime minister.
    • Chief Executive Officer: Appointed by Prime Minister for a fixed tenure, in rank of Secretary to Government of India.
    • Special Invitees: Experts, Specialists with domain knowledge nominated by Prime-minister.

NITI Aayog

Planning Commission

It serves as an advisory Think Tank.

It served as extra-constitutional body.

It draws membership from a wider expertise.

It had limited expertise.

It serves in spirit of Cooperative Federalism as states are equal partners.

States participated as spectators in annual plan meetings.

Secretaries to be known as CEO appointed by Prime- Minister.

Secretaries were appointed through usual process.

It focuses upon ‘Bottom-Up’ approach of Planning.

It followed a ‘Top-Down’ approach.

It does not possess mandate to impose policies.

Imposed policies on states and tied allocation of funds with projects it approved.

It does not have powers to allocate funds, which are vested in Finance Minister.

It had powers to allocate funds to ministries and state governments.

NITI Aayog Hubs

  • Team India Hub acts as interface between States and Centre.
  • Knowledge and Innovation Hubbuilds the think-tank acumen of NITI Aayog
  • The Aayog planned to come out with three documents —
    • 3-year action agenda,
    • 7-year medium-term strategy paper and
    • 15-year vision document.

 

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

  • NHRC of India is an independent statutory body established on 12 October, 1993 as per provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, later amended in 2006.
  • It is the watchdog of human rights in the country, i.e. the rights related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.

Structure of the Commission

  • Chairman and seven other members.
    • Out of the seven members, three are ex-officio member.
  • President appoints the Chairman and members of NHRC on recommendation of high-powered committee
NHRC was established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October, 1991) and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December, 1993
  • Headed by Prime Minister,
  • Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
  • Leader of Opposition in both the houses of Parliament and
  • Union Home Minister.
  • Ex Officio Members: Chairpersons of the below national commissions:
    • National Commission for Minorities
    • National Commission for Scheduled Castes
    • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
    • National Commission for Women
  • Tenure of the Chairperson and the members – 5 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
  • The Chairperson should be a Retired Chief Justice of India, and members should be serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court, a serving or retired chief justice of the high court and two persons having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights.
  • They can be removed only on the charges of proved misbehavior or incapacity,
    • If proved by an inquiry conducted by a Supreme Court Judge.
    • After their tenure, the chairman and members are not eligible for reappointment.
  • Commission also has five Specialized Divisions i.e. Law Division, Investigation Division, Policy Research & Programmes Division, Training Division and Administration Division.
The chairman and the members of State Human Rights Commission are appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Minister, Home Minister, Speaker of Legislative Assembly and Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly.

·         The chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.

·         The other members should be:

o   A serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the state with a minimum of seven years’ experience as District judge.

o   A person having practical experience or knowledge related to human rights.

 

Functions and Powers of NHRC

  • NHRC investigates grievances regarding the violation of human rights either suo moto or after receiving a petition.
  • It has the power to interfere in any judicial proceedings involving any allegation of violation of human rights.
  • It can visit any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government to see the living conditions of the inmates and to make recommendations thereon.
  • It can review the safeguards provided under the constitution or any law for the protection of the human rights and can recommend appropriate remedial measures.
  • NHRC undertakes and promotes research in the field of human rights.

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

  • The CIC is headed by the Chief Information Commissioner.
  • He is assisted by Ten Information Commissioners.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner (and an Information Commissioners) holds the office for five years or until they attain the age of 65 years.
    • They are not eligible for reappointment
  • The commissioners are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a committee comprising of:
    • Prime Minister (Chairperson),
    • Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha,
    • and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the PM.
  • They should be Persons of Eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
  • They can be removed on the charges of proved misbehavior or incapacity, if proved by an inquiry conducted by a Supreme Court Judge.
  • The CIC also submits an annual report to the GOI on the implementations of the provisions of the Act. This report is then placed before both the Houses of Parliament.

Powers and Functions

  • Power to examine any record under the control of the public authority. All such records have to be given to the Commission during examination and nothing shall be withheld.
  • the CIC has the powers of a civil court, such as the powers to:
    • Summon and enforce the attendance of persons, and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and produce documents or things

CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION

  • Central Vigilance Commission is the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government.
  • The CVC was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam.
  • In 2003, the Parliament enacted CVC Act conferring statutory status on the CVC.
  • The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners are appointed by the President on the recommendations of a Committee consisting of:
    • Prime Minister (Chairperson),
    • Minister of Home Affairs (Member) and
    • Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People (Member).
  • The term of office of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners is four years from the date on which they enter their office or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • They can be removed on the charges of proven misbehavior or incapacity, if proved by an inquiry conducted by a Supreme Court Judge

The following are the works of CVC members:

  • They inquire or investigate whenever a public servant (Central Government employee) commits an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • They superintend, direct and review the functioning of Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) in cases related to Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • They review the progress of those applications that are pending with competent authorities for sanction under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • Central Government and its authorities are advised on matters as they refer to CVC members
  • They also superintend vigilance departments of government ministries
  • CVC members are part of the selection committee which is responsible to recommend appointment of Director of Enforcement (ED)
  • The Commissions acts as an authority to receive information that is related to suspicious transactions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

  • The CBI was established as the Special Police Establishment in 1941, to investigate cases of corruption in the procurement during the Second World War.
  • Later, the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption recommended the establishment of the CBI.
  • The CBI was then formed by a resolution of the Home Affairs Ministry. The Ministry of Personnel later on, took over the responsibility of the CBI and now it plays the role of an attached office.
  • A high powered committee chaired by the prime minister will recommend the selection of the director of CBI.
  • It functions under the superintendence of the Dept. of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Government of India – which falls under the prime minister’s office.
  • However for investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, its superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
  • It is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member countries.

Director of CBI

  • Director, CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organisation.
  • Till 2014, the CBI Director was appointed on the basis of the DSPE Act, 1946.
  • In 2003, DSPE Act was revised on Supreme Court’s recommendation in the Vineet Narain case.
  • A committee that had members from Central Vigilance Commission, Secretaries from Home Ministry, Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances would send recommendations to Central Government for the appointment of CBI Director.
  • In 2014, the Lokpal Act provided a committee for appointment of CBI Director:
    • Headed by Prime Minister
    • Other members – Leader of Opposition/ Leader of the single largest opposition party, Chief Justice of India/ a Supreme Court Judge.
  • Home Ministry sends a list of eligible candidates to DoPT. Then, the DoPT prepares the final list on basis of seniority, integrity, and experience in the investigation of anti-corruption cases, and sends it to the committee.
  • Director of CBI has been provided security of two year tenure, by the CVC Act, 2003

Cases Handled by the CBI

  • Anti-Corruption Crimes – cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • Economic Crimes – major financial scams and serious economic frauds, Bank Frauds and Cyber Crime, Import Export & Foreign Exchange violations, etc.
  • Special Crimes – serious and organized crime under the Indian Penal Code and other laws on the requests of State Governments or on the orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • Suo Moto Cases – CBI can suo moto take up investigation of offences only in the Union Territories.
  • The Central Government can authorize CBI to investigate a crime in a State but only with the consent of the concerned State Government.
  • The Supreme Court and High Courts, however, can order CBI to investigate a crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the State.

LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States.
  • These institutions are statutory bodies without any constitutional status.
  • They perform the function of an “ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.

Structure of Lokpal

  • Lokpal is a multi-member body that consists of one chairperson and a maximum of 8 members.
  • Chairperson – either a former Chief Justice of India or the former Judge of Supreme Court or an eminent person.
  • Out of the maximum eight members, half will be judicial members and minimum 50% of the Members will be from SC/ ST/ OBC/ Minorities and women.
  • The judicial member of the Lokpal either a former Judge of the Supreme Court or a former Chief Justice of a High Court. The non-judicial member should be an eminent person.
  • The term of office for Lokpal Chairman and Members is 5 years or till the age of 70 years.
  • The members are appointed by the president on the recommendation of a Selection Committee:
    • Prime Minister who is the Chairperson;
    • Speaker of Lok Sabha,
    • Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha,
    • Chief Justice of India or a Judge nominated by him/her and
    • One eminent jurist.
  • For selecting the chairperson and the members, the selection committee constitutes a search panel of at least eight persons.
  • The Act states that not less than 50% of the members of the Lokpal should be from among persons belonging to the SCs, the STs, OBCs, minorities and women.
  • A search committee will prepare a panel of candidates, a selection committee will recommend names from among this panel and the President will appoint these as members.

Jurisdiction and Powers

  • Jurisdiction of Lokpal includes Prime Minister, Ministers, members of Parliament, Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of Central Government.
  • Jurisdiction of the Lokpal included the Prime Minister except on allegations of corruption relating to international relations, security, the public order, atomic energy and space.
  • The Lokpal does not have jurisdiction over Ministers and MPs in the matter of anything said in Parliament or a vote given there.
  • The Lokpal Act mandates that all public officials should furnish the assets and liabilities of themselves as well as their respective dependents.
  • It has the powers to superintendence over, and to give direction to CBI.
  • If Lokpal has referred a case to CBI, the investigating officer in such case cannot be transferred without the approval of Lokpal.
  • The Inquiry Wing of the Lokpal has been vested with the powers of a civil court.
  • Lokpal has powers of confiscation of assets, proceeds, receipts and benefits arisen or procured by means of corruption in special circumstances.
  • Lokpal has the power to recommend transfer or suspension of public servant connected with allegation of corruption.
  • Lokpal has the power to give directions to prevent the destruction of records during the preliminary inquiry.

Lokayuktas

  • These are the state equivalents of the central Lokpal.
  • Every State shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta for the State.
  • The establishment of the institution of the Lokayukta including any appointment therein falls within the domain of the states.
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