Statutory bodies are established by acts which Parliament and State Legislatures can pass. These bodies are entities shaped by an Act of Parliament or state legislatures and set up by the government to consider the data and make judgments in some area of activity.
Basically, a statutory body is an organization of government which is not demarcated in Constitution of India but it gets its powers, service rules, authority by an act of parliament or state legislatures. They are generally established to perform specific functions which a government considers effectively performed outside a traditional departmental executive structure.
They fulfil the requirement for some operational independence from the government; funding arrangements that are not dependent on the annual appropriations processes; or to establish a separate legal body. Statutory bodies are normally set up in countries which are ruled under parliamentary democracy form of political setup.
Under the law, statutory bodies are organizations with the authority to monitor that the activities of a business and check whether these institutions are legal and follow official rules. For example, the General Medical Council is the statutory body which regulates doctors.
The statutory bodies may be established to permit a certain level of independence from government, the government is still accountable to guarantee that taxpayers funds expended in the operations of statutory bodies are spent in the most, effective and economical way.
These bodies are subject to varying degrees of ministerial control which are identified in the statutory body’s enabling legislation. Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the operation of all government boards and agencies within their portfolios and are necessary to table their annual reports in Parliament. State representatives have authority for many reasons such as transparency, accountability, effectiveness, and bipartisanship.
The meaning of a ‘statutory body’ may change depending upon the legislation. For example, a local council is not a statutory body for the purposes of the Financial Accountability Act, but it is for the purposes of the Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act.
All statutory bodies are established and operate under the provisions of their own enabling legislation, which sets out the purpose and specific powers of the agency.
The enabling legislation may also include provisions for the levels of fees to be charged for services/products provided by the statutory body, the power of the statutory body to borrow or invest funds, whether the board can delegate powers to officers of the statutory body and whether the body represents the State.
The example of statuary body is The University Grants Commission, a statutory organization established by an Act of Parliament in 1956 for the coordination, determination, and maintenance of standards of university education. Apart from providing grants to eligible universities and colleges, the Commission also recommends the Central and State Governments on the measures which are necessary for the development of Higher Education.
It functions from New Delhi as well as its six Regional offices located in Bangalore, Bhopal, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Pune.
Important Statutory Bodies
- National Human Rights Commission
- National Commission for Women
- National Commission for Minorities
- National Commission for Backward Classes
- National Law Commission
- National Green Tribunal
- National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
- Armed Forces Tribunal