Constitutional Bodies In India (Part 1): Powers and Functions

5 Jun 2024  Read 1558 Views

Have you ever wondered who makes sure our democracy runs smoothly? The answer lies in the Constitutional Bodies created by the Constitution of India. These bodies are super important for the management of India and ensure our democracy functions properly.

Constitutional Bodies get their power and responsibilities directly from the Constitution. They are either set up by the Constitution or are required to be created by it. The Constitution clearly defines their structure, powers, and duties. 

From the Election Commission, which organises elections, to the Comptroller and Auditor General, who checks government spending, these bodies play a key role in keeping our democracy strong and fair. In this two-part blog series, we'll look at such constitutional bodies and their important powers and functions. Let's get started!

List of Constitutional Bodies in India

List of Constitutional Bodies in India

1. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), established on 1 October 1926, is a permanent body created by Parliament. Its headquarters are in New Delhi, and it serves as the government's central recruiting agency. 

The UPSC has detailed guidelines for the composition, appointment, and removal of its members, as well as for its powers, functions, and independence.

Articles

315 to 323 in Part XIV

Composition

A Chairman and other members as decided by the President of India.

Generally, the UPSC is comprised of 9 to 10 members and the chairman.

Appointed 

 

By the President of India.

Tenure 

6 years or until they reach the age of 65 years, whichever comes first.

Removal

  • By the President of India
  • In the case of ‘Misbehavior', the President has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for inquiry. 
  • If the Supreme Court finds the cause for removal and advises it, the President can remove the Chairman or a member of the UPSC.

Powers and Functions

  • Conducts all India exams to appoint candidates to national, central, and public services.
  • Coordinates joint recruitment schemes for which the candidates have special qualifications.
  • Resolves recruitment method issues for civil services and posts. Assists states upon request from the Governor or as directed by the President.

2. State Public Service Commission (SPSC)

The State Public Service Commissions are similar to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The key difference is that the UPSC operates at the national level, while each state has its own Public Service Commission for appointments to various constitutional posts within the state

Articles

315 to 323 in Part XIV

Composition

A Chairman and other members as decided by the President of India.

Appointed

By the Governor of the state.

Tenure

6 years or until they reach the age of 62 years, whichever comes first.

Removal

  • By the President of India.
  • In the case of ‘Misbehavior', the President has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for inquiry. 
  • If the Supreme Court finds the cause for removal and advises it, the President can remove the Chairman or a member of the UPSC.

Note: Though the Chairman and the members are appointed by the Governor, they can be removed only by the President.

Powers and Functions

  • Conducts the exams to appoint Civil servants for the states.
  • Consulted by state personnel management for civil post and service recruitment.

3. Attorney General of India (AGI)

The Attorney General of India is the highest law officer in the country, advising the Union government on all legal matters, and thus can be considered the Union's legal advisor. This position was established on 28 January 1950, with M. C. Setalvad serving as the first Attorney General of India.

Articles

76, 88 and 105

Eligibility

Must be the person who is qualified enough to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Appointed

By the President of India.

Term and removal

  • No fixed tenure and grounds of dismissal are mentioned in the Constitution.
  • He can be removed by the President at any time.

Powers and Functions

  • Advises the Government of India on legal matters which are referred to him by the President of India.
  • Performs all other legal duties that are important and assigned by the President.

4. Advocate General of the State (AGS)

The Advocate General is the highest legal officer of the state of India. However, they cannot defend someone in criminal cases or be a director of any business without approval from the State Government.

Articles

165,177 and 194

Eligibility

Must be eligible to serve as a Justice in the Supreme Court of India. This means he must be an Indian citizen who has either been a judge for ten years or a high court advocate for ten years.

Appointed

By the Governor of state.

Term and removal

  • No fixed tenure and grounds of dismissal are mentioned in the Constitution.
  • He can be removed by the Governor at any time

Powers and Functions

  • Defends the State Government in front of the High Court and Supreme Court. 
  • At the proceedings of both the houses of the state legislature or any state legislature committee, the Advocate General can take part as a member without the right to vote.

5. Election Commission of India (ECI)

The Election Commission of India (ECI) was established on 25 January 1950, which is celebrated as National Voters' Day. Its headquarters are in New Delhi. The ECI is responsible for conducting free and fair elections in India and has the power to supervise, direct, and control elections to Parliament, State Legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice-President of India.

Article

324

Composition

  • One Chief Election Commissioner and the number of other Election Commissioners as decided by the President of India.
  • Currently, there are 1 chief election commissioner and 2 election commissioners.

Appointed

By the President of India on the recommendation of a three-membered Selection Committee:

– The Prime Minister of India

– A Union Minister is chosen by the Prime Minister

– The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha

Tenure

6 years or until they reach the age of 65 years, whichever comes first.

Removal

  • The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed following the same process and for the same grounds as a Supreme Court judge.
  • Other Election Commissioners can be removed based on the Chief Election Commissioner's recommendation.

Powers and Functions

  • Determines the territorial areas for elections throughout the country.
  • Power to cancel the polls if offences like capturing violence and other irregularities are found.
  • Advise the Governor on matters related to the disqualification of the members.

6. Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is the supreme audit institution in the country, overseeing the expenses of both state and union governments. The CAG is also the statutory auditor for the Lokpal. Ranked 9th in order of precedence, the CAG holds the same status as a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Articles

148 to 151

Appointed

By the President of India.

Tenure

6 years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever comes first.

Removal

By the President on the same grounds and in the same manner as the Supreme Court judge.

Powers and Functions

  • Audits the accounts related to expenditures from India's consolidated funds, contingency funds, and public accounts.
  • Monitors the manufacturing trading balance sheet profit and loss accounts of all the central and state government departments.

Read our detailed article on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

Disclaimer: The Constitutional bodies mentioned in this blog are presented in no particular order and are not ranked based on any specific criteria.

Continue reading in Part 2.

About the Author: Anirudh Nikhare | 66 Post(s)

Anirudh did his Bachelor's in Law and has practical experience in IPR, Contracts, and Corporate. He is your go-to legal content writer turning head-scratching legal topics into easy-to-understand gems of wisdom. Through his blog, he aims to empower readers with knowledge, making legal concepts digestible and applicable to everyday life.

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