Blog by: Parveen Kaswan (IFS)
This post is for people who are new to polity and its terms, about different type of government bodies in existence.
It is said that democracy is not only about numbers and votes, it is also about institutions and their independence. To further the goal of democracy and executing various functions different types of bodies are created by government with particular mandates.
Constitutional bodies: These are the bodies which are mentioned in constitution of India and so considered as more powerful and independent. For example Election Commission of India is mentioned in Article. Its mandate and power are mentioned in constitution itself as a result it has a large degree of autonomy. Under Article 324(1) of the Constitution of India, the Election Commission of India, interalia, is vested with the power of superintendence, direction and control of conducting various elections. Even Supreme Court of India has held that where the enacted laws are silent or make insufficient provision to deal with a given situation in the conduct of elections, the Election Commission has the residuary powers under the Constitution to act in an appropriate manner.
Another example can be Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which is also called as Watchdog of Public purse. CAG derives its authority from Article 148 – 151 of constitution.
Article 148 says “There shall be a Comptroller and Auditor General of India who shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and shall only be removed from office in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court”.
Another example can be Finance Commission by virtue of Article 280 and UPSC. 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. There are many such examples and the golden rule is that they are mentioned in constitution of India.
Statutory Body: Simply speaking Statutes are laws made by legislative bodies, both central and state, and distinguished from common law, which is decided by courts. So any body that derives its power from a ‘Law’ or ‘Statute’ made by Parliament is called as statutory body or statutory authority.
For example the Securities and Exchange Board of India (frequently abbreviated as SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India. It was established in the year 1988 and given statutory powers on 12 April 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992. Another example is National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) which derives its power from Wildlife Protection Act 1972. There are many other examples like CBI, NHRC, National Law Commission, NGT etc.
So any body which is mentioned on whose existence is by virtue of an Act of parliament of state assembly is called as statutory body. A good example is Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It was not a statutory body but when the Act will be passed in parliament it will become one.
Non Statutory and Non Constitutional body: These are bodies which are formed by executive resolution or action, which means that they are formed by governments action only. They can be transformed into statutory body by making a new law or amending any existing law, for example NTCA was formed by amending Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and UIDAI will be made statutory by forming new Act. They can also be made constitutional body by amending the constitution. So Planning commission was formed by Nehru Government in 1952 and it was an non constitutional and non statutory body.
Regulatory Body: Also called regulatory agency is a public authority or a government agency which is accountable for exercising autonomous authority over some area of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity. It is established by legislative act in order to set standards in a specific field of activity, or operations, in the private sector of the economy and to then implement those standards. Regulatory interventions function outside executive observation. Because the regulations that they adopt have the force of law, part of these agencies’ function is essentially legislative; but because they may also conduct hearings and pass judgments concerning adherence to their regulations, they also exercise a judicial function often performed before a quasi-judicial official called an administrative law judge, who is not part of the court system. Some independent regulatory agencies perform investigations or audits, and some are authorised to fine the important parties and order certain measures.
For example RBI is regulatory body for banking sector. Other examples are TRAI, PCI, CCI etc.
(Questions ?? Any ?? )