CONSTITUTIONAL BODIES IN INDIA

What is a Constitutional Body?

1. Those bodies whose formation is prescribed by the Indian Constitution itself are known as Constitutional Bodies.

2.They derive their powers and authority from the Indian Constitution.

3. A constitutional amendment is often required to change any powers or functions related to such bodies.

List of Constitutional Bodies in India

  1. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIA

● Article 76 of the Constitution provides for the Attorney General of India.

● He is considered the highest law officer in the country.

● He is appointed by the president and holds office during his pleasure.

● A person who is qualified to be appointed as the judge of the Supreme Court is eligible for the office of Attorney General of India.

Duties of AG:

• To advise the government on the legal matters referred to him by the president.

• To appear on behalf of the GOI in SC in all the cases concerning the government.

• To represent GOI in the references made by the president to the SC under Article 143.

• To appear in HC in the cases concerning GOI when required.

Rights of AG:

• AG has the right to audience in all the courts in the territory of India.

• He has the right to speak and take part in the parliamentary proceedings. However, he doesn’t enjoy the right to vote.

• All the privileges and immunities available to a member of parliament are granted to the AG

2. COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL OF INDIA

● Article 148 of the Constitution provides for an independent office of Comptroller and Auditor General of india.

• CAG is considered as the guardian of the public purse. Along with the Supreme Court, the Election Commission, and the Union Public Service Commission, the office of CAG is treated as one of the bulwarks of the democratic system.

Appointment:

• President of India appoints CAG by a warrant under his hand and seal.

• He holds office for a period of six years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

• CAG can be removed from his office in the same manner as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Independence:

● CAG is provided with the security of tenure.

• His rights cannot be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment.

• All the expenses of the office of CAG are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

• His salary is equal to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.

Duties:

● The duties and powers of CAG are mentioned in article 149 of the Constitution.

• All the accounts related to the expenses from the Consolidated Fund of India, Consolidated Fund of the States, and Union Territories are audited by CAG.

● Also, the expenditure from Contingency Fund and Public Account of India and States are audited by CAG.

• CAG acts as a guide, friend, and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee.

● All the receipts and expenditure of bodies financed from the central or state revenue are also audited by CAG.

• The audits of any other body as and when requested by the President or Governor are audited by CAG.

• Three reports are submitted by CAG to the President. They are:

(1) Audit report on appropriation accounts

(2) Audit report on finance accounts

(3) Audit report on public undertakings

Role of CAG:

• The office of CAG secures the accountability of the executive to the Parliament in the sphere of financial administration.

• The CAG acts as an agent of the Parliament and is responsible only to the Parliament.

● Along with legal and regulatory audits, CAG also conducts propriety audits.

3.ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE STATE

● Article 165 of the Constitution provides for Advocate General for the states.

● He is considered the highest law officer in the state.

● The Advocate General is appointed by the governor and holds the office during his pleasure.

• A person qualified to be appointed as a judge of a high court is eligible for the office of Advocate General.

Duties and Rights of Advocate General:

• To advise the government of the state on the matters referred to him by the governor.

• To discharge those functions conferred upon him by the Constitution of India.

• He has the right to speak and take part in the proceedings of both the houses of the state legislature. However, he doesn’t enjoy the right to vote.

4. STATE FINANCE COMMISSION

● The governor of a state shall, after every five years, constitute a finance commission.

• Articles 243-1 and 243-Y deal with the formation of this body.

• The composition, qualifications of members, and the manner of their selection is decided by the concerned state legislature.

Functions:

● The distribution of the net proceeds of taxes, tolls, and fees between the state and local bodies.

• The determination of such taxes, duties, and tolls to be assigned to local bodies.

The grants-in-aid to be given to the local bodies from the consolidated fund of the state.

• Measures to be taken for improving the financial position of local bodies.

●Any other matter referred to the commission by the governor of the state.

5.STATE ELECTION COMMISSION

• The elections to the panchayats and municipalities are looked after by the State Election Commission.

● Articles 243-K and 243-ZA deal with the elections to the rural and urban local bodies.

● SEC consists of a state election commissioner who is appointed by the governor.

• The removal of the state election commissioner is the same as that of a judge of the state high court.

6.DISTRICT PLANNING COMMITTEE

• A district planning committee is constituted and given the task to consolidate the plans of both panchayats and municipalities.

• It prepares a draft development plan for the district.

• Article 243-ZD deals with the committee for district planning.

• The composition, manner of election of chairperson and members is decided by the state legislature.

● Four-fifths of the committee are elected by the elected members of panchayats and municipalities.

• The representation of these members is proportional to the ratio of the rural and urban population in the district.

• In preparing the plan, DPC should consider the following:

  1. Matters of common interest between the rural and urban local bodies regarding sharing of resources, infrastructure development, and conservation of environment.
  2. Extent and type of resources available.

7. METROPOLITAN PLANNING COMMITTEE

• A metropolitan planning committee is constituted for every metropolitan area.

• Article 243 -ZE deals with the committee for metropolitan planning.

• The composition, manner of election of chairpersons and members, functions, etc are decided by the concerned state legislature.

There are many other bodies also ….