Nikaalo Prelims Spotlight || Constitutional Bodies, Statutory Bodies, Local government/ ULBs

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This Spotlight is a part of our Mission Nikaalo Prelims-2023.

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11th May 2023

Constitutional Bodies

Constitutional bodies derive their powers and authorities from the Constitution of India. They are mentioned in the Constitution. Since they get their power from the Indian Constitution, any change in the mechanism of the constitutional bodies would require a constitutional amendment.

The list of constitutional bodies in India along with the article pertaining to it in the Constitution and other details are given below:

  • Attorney General of India
Attorney General
Article in the Constitution76
Tenure & RemovalHolds office during the pleasure of the President
Further AppointmentYes
PowersPrivileges of an MPRight of an audience in all Indian courtsCan attend both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha but cannot vote
  • Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)
Comptroller & Auditor General of India
Articles148
Tenure & removalHolds the office for six years or 65 years (whichever comes earlier)Removal is the same as for a judge of the Supreme Court
Further appointmentNo
PowersAudits accounts concerned with the Contingency Fund, the Consolidated Fund of India and states,  and the Public Accounts Fund of the states and centre.Advisory function with respect to accounts to the country’s President
  • Election Commission
Election Commission of India
Article324
CompositionCEC/Chief Election Commissioner, Other Election Commissioners
Tenure & removalPresently for 6 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier
Further appointmentYes
PowersConduct of free and fair elections in IndiaPolitical parties’ registrationOverseeing elections
  • Finance Commission
Finance Commission of India
Article280
CompositionChairman, Four members
Further appointmentYes
PowersDecides the basis for sharing the divisible taxes by the centre and the statesAny matter in the interest of sound finance can be referred to the Presidentevaluates the rise in the Consolidated Fund of a state in order to affix the resources of the state Municipalities and PanchayatsFC has the powers of a civil court
  • National Commission for Scheduled Castes
National Commission for Scheduled Castes
Articles338
CompositionChairman, Vice-chairman, 3 other members
Tenure & removal3 years
Further appointmentYes
PowersIt is a quasi-judicial bodyMonitoring and reporting about the implementation of constitutional safeguards for Scheduled CastesIt has a civil court’s powers
  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Articles338-A
CompositionChairman, Vice-chairman, 3 other members
Tenure & removal3 years
Further appointmentYes
PowersIt is a quasi-judicial bodyMonitoring and reporting about the implementation of constitutional safeguards for Scheduled TribesIt has a civil court’s powers
  • National Commission for Backward Classes
National Commission for Backward Classes
Articles338-B
CompositionChairman, Vice-chairman, 3 other members
Tenure & removal3 years
Further appointmentYes
PowersExamine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classesIt has a civil court’s powers
  • Special officer for Linguistic Minorities
Special officer for Linguistic Minorities
Articles350 B
CompositionCommissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner
Tenure and removalPleasure of the President
Further appointmentYes
PowersMonitoring and reporting the working of constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities
  • Union Public Service Commission
Union Public Service Commission
Articles315 – 323
Composition9 to 11 members
Tenure & removalPresently for 6 years or 65 years (whichever is earlier) whichever is earlier
Further AppointmentUPSC Chairman is not eligible for a second term. Other members are eligible only for an appointment within SPSC and UPSC
PowersRecruitment of All India Services, public services of centrally administered territories, Central services, advisory powers

State Public Service Commission

State Public Service Commission
Articles315 – 323
Tenure & removalPresently for 6 years or 62 years, whichever is earlier


Statutory Bodies in India

  • Statutory bodies are established by acts that Parliament or State Legislatures.
  • Statutory bodies have the authority to make laws and make decisions on behalf of the state or country.
  • A statutory body is a self-governing corporate body. A statutory body is established via an Act of Parliament or an Act of State Legislatures. The Act also specifies the body’s powers, objectives, and functions.
  • These bodies are known as statutory bodies because they get their power from statutes or laws adopted by Parliament.
  • Statutory Bodies are divided into two types depending on their tasks and responsibilities. They are classified as:
    • Regulatory Bodies
    • Quasi-Judicial Bodies.
  • Regulatory Bodies – A regulatory body is a government entity responsible for exerting autonomous power over a specific area of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory role.
  • For example, the Biodiversity Authority of India (BAI), the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), and others.
  • Quasi-Judicial bodies – Non-judicial bodies that can interpret the law are referred to as quasi-judicial bodies. They vary from judicial entities in that their scope is narrower than that of a court.
  • For example, the National Green Tribunal, the National Human Rights Commission, and the Central Information Commission.

Local Government

  • About:
    • Local Self Government is the management of local affairs by such local bodies who have been elected by the local people.
    • The local self-Government includes both rural and urban government.
    • It is the third level of the government.
    • There are 2 types of local government in operation – panchayatas in rural areas and Municipalities in urban areas.
  • Rural Local Governments:
    • Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) is a system of rural local self-government in India.
    • PRI was constitutionalized through the 73rd Amendment Act, 1992 to build democracy at the grass roots level and was entrusted with the task of rural development in the country.
      • This act has added a new Part-IX to the Constitution of India. This part is entitled as ‘The Panchayats’ and consists of provisions from Articles 243 to 243 O.
      • In addition, the act has also added a new Eleventh Schedule to the Constitution. This schedule contains 29 functional items of the panchayats. It deals with Article 243-G.
    • In its present form and structure PRI has completed 30 years of existence. However, a lot remains to be done in order to further decentralization and strengthen democracy at the grass root level.
  • Urban Local Governments:
    • They were established with the purpose of democratic decentralisation.
    • There are eight types of urban local governments in India – Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, Town Area Committee, Cantonment Board, township, port trust, special purpose agency.
    • At the Central level the subject of ‘urban local government’ is dealt with by the following three Ministries.
      • The Ministry of Urban Development was created as a separate ministry in 1985 (now Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs).
      • Ministry of Defense in the case of cantonment boards.
      • Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of Union Territories.
    • The 74th Amendment Act pertaining to urban local government was passed during the regime of P.V. Narsimha Rao’s government in 1992. It came into force on 1st June, 1993.
      • Added Part IX -A and consists of provisions from articles 243-P to 243-ZG.
      • Added 12th Schedule to the Constitution. It contains 18 functional items of Municipalities and deals with Article 243 W.

What are the Salient Features of 73rd Constitutional Amendment?

  • Compulsory Provisions:
    • Organisation of Gram Sabhas;
    • Creation of a three-tier Panchayati Raj Structure at the Zila, Block and Village levels;
    • Almost all posts, at all levels to be filled by direct elections;
    • Minimum age for contesting elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions be twenty one years;
    • The post of Chairman at the Zila and Block levels should be filled by indirect election;
    • There should be reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats, in proportion to their population, and for women in Panchayats up to one-third seats;
    • State Election Commission to be set up in each State to conduct elections to Panchayati Raj institutions;
    • The tenure of Panchayati Raj institutions is five years, if dissolved earlier, fresh elections to be held within six months;
    • A State Finance Commission is set up in each State every five years.
  • Voluntary:
    • Giving voting rights to members of the Central and State legislatures in these bodies;
    • Providing reservation for backward classes; and
    • The Panchayati Raj institutions should be given financial powers in relation to taxes, levy fees etc. and efforts shall be made to make Panchayats autonomous bodies.

What are the Salient Features of 74th Amendment Act?

  • Compulsory:
    • Constitution of nagar panchayats, municipal councils and municipal corporations in small, big and very big urban areas respectively;
    • Reservation of seats in urban local bodies for Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes roughly in proportion to their population;
    • Reservation of seats for women up to one-third seats;
    • The State Election Commission, constituted in order to conduct elections in the Panchayati raj bodies (see 73rd Amendment) will also conduct elections to the urban local self- governing bodies;
    • The State Finance Commission, constituted to deal with financial affairs of the panchayati raj bodies also looks into the financial affairs of the local urban selfgoverning bodies;
    • Tenure of urban local self-governing bodies is fixed at five years and in case of earlier dissolution fresh elections are held within six months;
  • Voluntary:
    • Giving voting rights to members of the Union and State Legislatures in these bodies;
    • Providing reservation for backward classes;
    • Giving financial powers in relation to taxes, duties, tolls and fees, etc;
    • Making the municipal bodies autonomous and devolution of powers to these bodies to perform some or all of the functions enumerated in the Twelfth Schedule added to the Constitution through this Act and/or to prepare plans for economic development.


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