Constitutional Bodies in India

Those bodies whose formation is prescribed by the Indian Constitution itself are known as Constitutional Bodies. They derive their powers and authority from the Indian Constitution. They can only be created or changed by passing a constitutional amendment bill, rather than an Act of Parliament. A Constitutional amendment is often required to change any powers or functions related to such bodies. The provision mentioned in the Indian constitution served as the foundation for the creation of constitutional bodies. Constitutional bodies have extraordinary influence over any other government agencies or non-constitutional bodies due to their reliance on the constitution for their authority. The Indian Constitution serves as the foundation for constitutional bodies’ authority. It is necessary to frequently update the constitution to change any powers or duties linked to constitutional bodies.

1.Attorney General of India

The Attorney General of India is a part of Union Executive and is the highest law officer in India. Article 76 of the Indian Constitution (Part V) concisely describes the post of an Attorney General of India and its powers, functions, and duties, among other things. The Attorney General of India is appointed through nomination by the President of India. They must be someone who meets the requirements to be appointed as a Supreme Court judge. Therefore, they had to have served as a high court judge for five years, a high court advocate for ten years, or an eminent jurist in the eye of the President. There is no fixed term for the Attorney General of India. Duties of the Attorney General of India includes to give advice to the Government of India (GoI) upon such legal matters, which are referred to her/him by the President, perform duties of a legal character that are assigned to her/him by the President and also to discharge the functions conferred on her/him by the Constitution or any other law. Procedures and grounds for the removal of AG are not stated in the Constitution. Solicitor General of India and Additional Solicitor General of India assist the AG in fulfillment of the official responsibilities. He/she has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament and can enjoy all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.

India’s current attorney general is R. Venkataramani. On October 1st, 2022, he took over as the 16th Attorney-General. AGI is headquartered in New Delhi

2.Comptroller and Auditor General of India

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India is an independent authority under Constitution of India. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 was passed by the Union Government in 1971. He/she is known as the Guardian of Public Purse. CAG was released from its accounting duties in 1976. Article 148 deals with the CAG appointment, oath and conditions of service, Article 149 deals with duties and powers , Article 150 states 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 and Article 151 says that the reports of the CAG 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. They have the authority to examine all money received and spent by the Indian and state governments, as well as any autonomous organizations and businesses that get significant government funding. In addition, the CAG performs supplementary audits of government-owned firms and companies in which the government owns at least 51 percent of the equity or those that are subsidiaries of other government-owned corporations. The Indian Audit and Accounts Department is overseen by personnel of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, and the CAG is in charge of it.

The current CAG of India is G. C. Murmu, a former lieutenant governor of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. CAG is headquartered in Nation’s capital, New Delhi.

3.Finance Commission

According to Article 280 of the Indian Constitution, the President of India creates the Finance Commission on a regular basis to establish the financial ties between the union government of India and the various state governments. The Finance Commission (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1951 (22 November) authorised the creation of the First Commission. The roles and responsibilities of the commission include establishing the criteria that affect grants to the states and their size and making recommendations to the President on necessary actions to increase state funding to supplement state panchayat and community resources.

The President shall, within two years of the adoption of the Constitution, and every five years thereafter, or earlier as necessary, establish a Finance Committee, consisting of a Chair and four other members.

The 15th Finance Commission, which was established in 2017, is presided over by N. K. Singh, a former Planning Commission member. Finance commission is headquartered in New Delhi.

4.Election Commission of India

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a constitutional body. It was created by the Indian Constitution to conduct and regulate elections in the country. ECI was established on 25 January 1950 and later came to be known as National Voter’s Day. Article 324 of the Constitution provides the power to supervise, direct and control elections to the Parliament, State Legislatures, State Legislative Council, the Office of the President of India and the Office of the Vice President of India. This body administers elections to the House of Representatives, House of Representatives, State Legislatures, State Legislative Councils, the Office of the President, and the Office of the Vice President. The Electoral Commission now consists of a chief election commissioner and two Additional election commissioners. Committee decisions are made by majority vote.

ECI is headquartered Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi and is headed by the chief election commissioner of India. On 15 May 2022, Rajiv Kumar was sworn in as India’s 25th Chief Electoral Commissioner, succeeding Sushil Chandra.

5. Union Public Service Commission

The Union Public Service Commission, commonly abbreviated as UPSC, is India’s leading centralized recruitment agency for recruiting all Group ‘A’ civil servants under the Government of India. Responsible for appointing and reviewing all ‘A’ posts in all central government agencies. This includes all central public sector enterprises and all central autonomous bodies.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) consists of a chairman and ten members.

The Commission is constitutionally mandated for appointment to the Union and All India Services. In addition, it is necessary to consult the government on matters concerning appointments, transfers, promotions and disciplinary actions. It was established as the Public Service Commission on 1 October 1926 and was later revived as the Federal Public Service Commission by the Government of India Act, 1935. 

The Commission is headquartered at Dholpur House, New Delhi and operates through its own secretariat. Dr. Manoj Soni, is the UPSC Chair from April 5, 2022.

6. Goods and Services Tax Council

The Goods and Services Tax Council (GST Council) is a constitutional body that advises federal and state governments on goods and services tax-related matters. The Constitutional Ammendment Bill was passed by more than 15 states and thereafter Hon’ble President gave assent to 101st Ammendment Act, 2016. The 101st Amendment Act of 2016 paved the way for the introduction of a new tax system in the country. GST Council consists of the Union Finance Minister as the chairperson of the GST Council, the Union Minister of State in charge of revenue (finance) from the centre and a minister from each state who is either in charge of finance or taxation or has been nominated by the state to serve as a member of the GST Council.

The smooth and efficient administration of this tax requires cooperation and coordination between the Center and the countries. This amendment added a new Article 279-A to the Indian Constitution. This article authorized the President to establish the GST Council by Executive Order. Therefore, the President issued a power of attorney in 2016 and constituted the Board.

The Board undertakes to make recommendations to the Center and States on:

  • Taxes, duties and surcharges imposed by central, state and local governments that are integrated into GST.
  • Goods and services that may or may not be subject to GST.
  • Model GST laws, collection policies, GST allocations imposed on deliveries made in interstate trade or commerce, and policies governing delivery locations.

The 47th GST Council Meeting under the Chairmanship of Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman was held on 28th & 29th June 2022.

The Council Secretariat is located in New Delhi. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the current chairperson of the GST Council.

7.Inter-State Council

Article 263 of the Indian Constitution stipulates that an Inter-State Council (ISC) may be established “whenever the President considers the establishment of the Council to be in the public interest.” Therefore, the Constitution itself did not establish the ISC, leaving the option of its establishment, as it was deemed not necessary at the time the ISC was enacted. This option he exercised in 1990. Therefore, on May 28, 1990, the ISC was established as a permanent body by Presidential Decree on the recommendation of the Sarkaria Commission. The purpose of the ISC is to discuss or consider policy, issues of common interest, and disputes between nations.

It consists of the Prime Minister as Chairman, Chief Ministers of all States Members, Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and Administrators of UTs not having a Legislative Assembly and Governors of States under President`s Rule (Governor’s Rule in the case of J&K) Members and six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister Members.

ISC is chaired by The Prime Minister of the country, Sri Narendra Modi and is headquartered in New Delhi.

8.National Commission of Scheduled Castes

National Commission of Scheduled Castes is an Indian constitutional body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, which is responsible for preventing Scheduled Castes from being exploited to improve social education. The Constitution made provisions to promote and protect economic and cultural interests. Article 338A of the Indian Constitution deals with the Scheduled Castes National Commission. NCSC was established on 19 February 2004. The first Commission of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was established in August 1978 with Bhola Paswan Shastri as Chairman. Members of the commission include a chairman, a vice chairman and three other members.

The duties of the committee are to:

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the protection of registered castes under this Constitution or other laws or governmental directives currently in force and to assess the effectiveness of such protections.
  • Investigation of specific complaints regarding deprivation of privileges and protections of Scheduled Castes.
  • Participation and consultation in the planning process of socio-economic development of Scheduled Castes.

Shri Vijay Sampla is Chairman of the National Commission of Scheduled Castes (NCSC). NCSC is headquartered in New Delhi.

9. National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is a constitutional body of India established by the Constitution Act, 2003 (89th Amendment), which came into force on 19 February 2004.

The Commission consists of a Chair, a Vice-Chair and three standing members (including one female member). The term of office of all members of the Commission shall be three years from the date of her appointment.

The functions of the committee are:

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the protection of Designated Tribes under the Constitution or other laws now in force or directed by the Government, and to assess the effectiveness of such protection.
  • Investigation of Specific Complaints Concerning Deprivation of Rights and Protections by Designated Tribes.
  • Participation and Consultation in the Planning Process for Socio-Economic Development of Scheduled Tribes

Harsha Chauhan is the present chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. NCSI is headquartered in New Delhi.

10. National Commission for Backward Classes

The National Commission for Backward Classes of India is a constitutional body reporting to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. Article 340 deals with the need to, inter alia, identify those “socially and educationally backward classes”, understand the conditions of their backwardness, and make recommendations to remove the difficulties they face. 102nd Constitution Amendment Act inserted new Articles 338 B and 342 A. NCBC was established under the provisions of the 1993 National Committee on Backward Class Act on August 14.

The commission investigates and monitors all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under the Constitution or under any other law to evaluate the working of such safeguards.  It participates and advises on the socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.

The Commission shall consist of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and three other members, and the terms and terms of office of the Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and other appointed members shall be specified by the President by regulation.

Former Union Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir has been appointed chairman of the National Backward Board (NCBC). NCBC is headquartered in New Delhi.

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