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Difference Between the Constitutional and Statutory Bodies in India

What is the difference between constitutional and statutory bodies in India?

Difference between Constitutional and Statutory Bodies

Constitutional and Extra Constitutional Bodies

» There are two types of bodies working:
1.   Constitutional Bodies
2.  Extra Constitutional Bodies

1.       Constitutional Bodies

» Constitutional bodies derive their authority from the constitution. In other words, Constitutional Bodies are formed by the Constitution which helps the Government to run properly.
» Each of these permanent or semi-permanent organisations is responsible for the administration of specific functions.
» It is mandatory for the government to set up such a body and it cannot dispense off with it easily when it becomes uncomfortable.
» Such bodies or institutions are written into the Constitution of a nation and can’t be abolished without amending that part of the Constitution which sometimes also requires the consent of the states. And also can be invalidated by the Supreme Court.
» All the constitutional bodies have dedicated article in the constitution.
» The chief of the constitutional bodies are appointed by either the President or the Prime Minister.
Examples of the Constitutional Bodies mentioned in the Constitution of India are:

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) (Article 315)
The agency's charter is granted by the Constitution of India. Articles 315 to 323 of Part XIV of the Constitution, titled as Services Under the Union and the States, provide for a Public Service Commission for the Union and for each state. 

The Comptroller And Auditor General Of India (Article 148)
The CAG is mentioned in the Constitution of India under Article 148 – 151.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by the Constitution under Constitution of India/Part V - Chapter V/Sub-part 7B/Article 148, which audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government. The CAG is also the external auditor of Government-owned corporations and conducts a supplementary audit of government companies, i.e., any non-banking/ non-insurance company in which Union Government has an equity share of at least 51 percent or subsidiary companies of existing government companies.

Election Commission Of India (Article 324)
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok SabhaRajya Sabha, state legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324 and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act. The Commission has the powers under the Constitution, to act in an appropriate manner when the enacted laws make insufficient provisions to deal with a given situation in the conduct of an election.
Finance Commission Of India
The Finance Commission came into existence in 1951. It was established under Article 280 of the Indian Constitution by the President of India. It was formed to define the financial relations between the Centre and the state. The Finance Commission Act of 1951 states the terms of qualification, appointment and disqualification, the term, eligibility and powers of the Finance Commission.

National Commission For Scheduled Castes (NCSC)
National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) as provided in Article 338 of the Constitution is an Indian constitutional body established with a view to provide safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Castes to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests, special provisions were made in the Constitution.

National Commission For Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is an Indian constitutional body was established through Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) w.e.f. 19 February 2004.

Attorney-General Of India (Article- 76)
The Attorney General for India is the Indian government's chief legal advisor and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. He is appointed by the President of India under Article 76(1) of the Constitution and holds office during the pleasure of the President. He must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court, Attorney General for India must be a citizen of India and appointed by the president of India.

Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
The Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 inserted a new Article 350-B in Part XVII of the Constitution. This article contains the following provisions:
1. There should be a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. He is to be appointed by the President of India.
2.It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution
3.He would report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct. The President should place all such reports before each House of Parliament and send to the governments of the states concerned.

2.      Extra Constitutional Bodies

» An extra-constitutional body is an institution of government which is not defined in Constitution of India.
» Extra-Constitutional bodies or institutions are created either by an act passed in parliament or by the resolution of a cabinet.
» There are two types of extra-constitutional bodies
1.       Statutory Bodies
2.      Executive Bodies

Statutory Bodies

» A statutory body is one that derives its existence and authority from a statute (i.e. law)
» Statutory bodies are those extra-constitutional bodies which are created by the act passed in the parliament of India.
» The goals and objectives of a statutory authority are explicitly set out in the Originating act or in subsequent governmental guidance or instruction.
» Such bodies are subject to change by a respective change in the law governing them.
» Statutory bodies can simply be abolished by an act of the parliament with the simple majority.
» Some Important Statutory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission
The Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).

National Commission for Women
The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body of the Government of India, generally concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women. It was established in January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.

National Commission for Minorities
National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India. Original notification of 1993 was for Five religious communities Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, parliamentChristians and Muslims.

National Commission for Backward Classes
National Commission for Backward Classes is under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment established on 14 August 1993. It was constituted pursuant to the provisions of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. In 2017, a bill seeking to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes is scheduled to be passed in Parliament. Lok Sabha has already passed it.

National Green Tribunal
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables the creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It draws inspiration from the India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was established on 20 February 1997 by an Act of Parliament to regulate telecom services and tariffs in India. Earlier regulation of telecom services and tariffs was overseen by the Central Government.

Central Information Commission
The Central Information Commission (CIC) set up under the Right to Information Act is the authorised body, established in 2005, under the Government of India to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not have been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.

Central Vigilance Commission
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption. It has the status of an autonomous body, free of control from any executive authority, charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India, advising various authorities in Central Government organisations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
Originally the CVC was neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body. Recently, in September 2003, the Parliament enacted a law conferring statutory status on the CVC

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), India is a quasi-judicial commission in India which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Its head office is in New Delhi. The commission is headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Armed Forces Tribunal
Armed Forces Tribunal or AFT is a military tribunal in India. It was established under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

Executive Bodies

» Bodies which are created by an executive order of any ministry of union or state are called executive bodies.
» Executive bodies have no backing of constitution Parliament.
Example: Planning Commission (now replaced by NITI aayog), UIDAI (Aadhar card).
UIDAI (Aadhar card), which when faced controversy is undergoing shift to a statutory body.

Frequently asked questions:

What do you mean by extra-constitutional body?
An extra-constitutional body is an institution of government which is not defined inConstitution of India but are established by a resolution(decision) of union cabinet. For Example Planning Commission, National Development Council etc.

Is Election Commission of India a constitutional body?
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.

Is Finance Commission a quasi-judicial body?
The Commission works as an arbitrator, means to distribute taxes among union and state. Therefore it is called a quasi-judicial body. But it's recommendations are not obligatory in nature as it is the Parliament which acts as an apex body to hold or decide the government exchequer.

Is TRAI a statutory body?
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2008. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as TRAI) is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.

Is Niti AYOG a constitutional body?

Niti Aayog, like the Planning Commission, is not a constitutional body, which means it too is not accountable to Parliament.

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