Constitutional Bodies In India (Part 2): Powers and Functions

7 Jun 2024  Read 1310 Views

Let's pick up where we left off in Part 1, in which we have talked about constitutional bodies like the UPSC, the Attorney General of India, etc and their important roles and responsibilities. In Part 2, we'll get to know more about these bodies and their powers and a fun trick to help you remember them easily. Let's continue!

7. Finance Commission of India (FCI)

The Finance Commission, aka Vitta Āyoga, was set up on 22 November 1951. Its main job is to divide revenue between the Union and State governments. The goal of creating the Finance Commission was to keep good financial relations between the Centre and the States.

Article 

280

Composition

Chairman and 4 other members.

Appointed

By the President of India.

Tenure

Specified by the President in his/her order.

Eligibility

Decided by the Parliament

The chairperson must have experience in public affairs and sound knowledge of financial issues.

Power and Functions

  • Distribute the net proceeds of taxes among the state and centre.
  • Decides the sharing of taxes by the Centre and States.
  • Has power equal to that of the Civil Court.
  • Any other matter referred by the President in the interests of sound finance.

8. Goods and Services Tax Council (GST Council)

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a major change introduced by the 101st Amendment Act 2016. For GST to work well, both the central and state governments need to work together and coordinate effectively.

The GST Council's secretariat is located in New Delhi, and the Union Revenue Secretary serves as the ex-officio secretary.

Article

279-A

Composition

  • The Union Finance Minister acts as the Chairperson.
  • The Union Minister of State is responsible for Revenue or Finance.
  • The Finance or Taxation Minister or any other Minister appointed by each State Government.

Power and Functions

Recommends to the central and state governments on these matters:

  • which taxes, cesses, and surcharges by the central, state, and local governments should be included in GST.
  • which goods and services should be taxed under GST and which should be exempt.
  • standard GST laws, rules on how GST is charged, how GST collected from inter-state trade is shared, and rules on where goods and services are considered to be supplied.

9. National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes was created on 19 February 2004, replacing the earlier National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes established in 1978. 

It was set up to support and protect the Scheduled Castes in India, aiming to prevent discrimination and exploitation and to help improve their lives.

Article

338

Composition

Consists of 5 members: 1 Chairperson, 1 Vice-Chairperson, and 3 other members.

Appointed

By the President of India.

Tenure

3 years

Power and Functions

  • Investigate and monitor all issues related to legal protections for Scheduled Castes.
  • Handles specific complaints about the deprivation of rights of Scheduled Castes.
  • Actively participates in planning and evaluating the social and economic development of Scheduled Castes in each state.
  • Carries out similar functions for the welfare and protection of Scheduled Castes as specified by the President.

Click on the link to read about how SC/ ST are decided in India.

10. National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes was created by the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act in 2003 and was officially formed on 19 February 2004. It was established under Article 338A after splitting from the previous National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. 

The NCST is responsible for ensuring the implementation of various protections for Scheduled Tribes provided by the Constitution.

Article

338-A

Composition

Consists of 5 members: 1 Chairperson, 1 Vice-Chairperson, and 3 other members(including one female Member)

Appointed

By the President of India.

Tenure

3 years

Power and Functions

  • Addresses issues related to Scheduled Tribes and resolves them at both state and national levels. 
  • Provide protections to prevent the exploitation of Scheduled Tribes and to safeguard their social, economic, educational, and cultural interests.

If you want to read about the Act, which was enacted to prevent atrocities against individuals belonging to SC and ST, then click Here.

11. National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

The National Commission for Backward Classes was created in 1993 under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment through the National Commission for Backward Classes Act. Its purpose is to identify and address the economic and social challenges faced by backward classes and suggest solutions to overcome these issues.

The commission resulted from Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India. In 1992, the Supreme Court of India directed the Government of India and others to create a permanent body that would handle requests and complaints about adding or removing groups from the list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The Court also stated that only social and educational backwardness, not economic status, should be considered for this purpose.

Article 

338-B

Composition

Consists of 5 members: 1 Chairperson, 1 Vice-Chairperson, and  3 other members.

Appointed

By the President of India.

Tenure

3 years

Power and Functions

  • Helps economically and socially backward people by handling their complaints and taking necessary action.
  • Prepares reports on the welfare and rights of socially and economically backward classes and submits them to the President.
  • Protects socially and educationally backward classes from exploitation and ensures their interests in education, culture, and economics.

12. Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities (CLM)

The Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities (CLM) was established under the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 and is part of the Ministry of Minority Affairs

Linguistic minorities at the state, district, and taluka/tehsil levels are groups of people whose mother tongues differ from the principal language of the respective state, district, or taluka/tehsil.

Article 

350-B

Composition

One membered body

Appointed

By the President of India.

Tenure

The Constitution does not specify qualifications, tenure, salaries, and procedures for removal.

Headquarters

Headquarters – New Delhi

Regional Offices: Belgaum, Chennai, Kolkata

Power and Functions

  • Look into issues concerning protections for language minorities.
  • Send reports to the President about how well the safeguards for language minorities are followed.
  • Keep an eye on the safeguards by using surveys, visits, meetings, and other methods.

If you want to read about The 105th Amendment of the Indian Constitution, then click on the link.

Trick to remember Constitutional Bodies of India

There are about 20 constitutional bodies in India. However, the trick to remember the important ones is:

 

Conclusion

Constitutional bodies work according to specific articles in the Constitution, focusing on various aspects of the country's development and governance. India has 20 different constitutional bodies, each with unique roles important for the nation's progress. These bodies are empowered by the constitution with special authority and responsibilities.

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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