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Chapter 10. Constitutional Bodies (Polity & Constitution of India Notes)


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
➤ The Union Public Service Commission is the central recruiting agency in India. It is an independent constitutional body in the sense that it has been directly created by the constitution.
➤ Article 315 to 323 in Part XIV of the Constitution contain elaborate provisions regarding the composition, appointment and removal of members along with the independence, power and functions of the UPSC.
➤ The chairman and members of the Commission hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever earlier.
➤ They can also be removed before the expiry of their term by the president.
State Public Service Commission
➤ Parallel to the UPSC at the centre, there is a state public service Commission in state under same set of Articles (i.e., Article 315 to 323) ➤ A SPSC consist of a chairman and other members appointed by the governor of the state.
➤ The chairman and members of the commission hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 62 years.
➤ The chairman and members of the commission can be removed only by the president (and not by the governor)
The Centre-State Relation
➤ Articles 245 -255, part-IX of the constitution contains provisions relating to the legislature relations between centre and states.
➤ Centre-state relations can be studied under three categories.
The legislative relations
➤ Our parliament can make laws for the whole or any part of the country.
➤ The legislature of a state may make laws for the whole or any part of the state.
➤ No law made by parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extraterritorial operation.
➤ There are three lists under 7th schedule – The Union list -100 subjects (earlier – 97) The state list -61 subjects (earlier 66) The concurrent list -52 subjects (earlier -47)
➤ The union list consists of subjects with national importance.
➤ Both centre & state can make laws on concurrent list but in case of any conflict between state & centre, the central law will prevail.
➤ Article 248 vests the residuary Powers in the parliament.
➤ Parliament has exclusive power to make any law with respect to any matter not enumerated in the concurrent list or the state list.
➤ According to Article 249, if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution, supported by 2/3rd of the members present & voting, that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that the Parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the state list specified in the resolution.
➤ According to Article 250, while the Emergency is in operation the make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to all matters in the state list.
➤ According to Article 252, if the legislatures of two or more states passes a resolution to the effect that it is desireable to have a law passed by the parliament on any matter in the state list, it shall be lawful for the parliament to make laws regulating that matter.
➤ According to Article 253, that empowers the parliament to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing the treaties and international agreements and conventions even if the subject covered by such treaties and agreement fall within the state list.
➤ According to Article 356, the Parliament is empowered to make laws with respect to all the matters in the state list when the Parliament declares that the state Governments can’t be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and the parliament assumes all the legislative functions of the states.
Centre’s control over the state legislation
➤ Any legislation passed by the state legislature for the acquisition of private property for public purposes will not become a law unless it has the assent of the Parliament (Art. 31A) ➤ According to Article 200 the Governor is empowered to reserve a Bill for the president’s consideration.
➤ Under this Article the Governor has been directed to reserve any Bill affecting the dignity any functioning of the High Court for the President’s consideration.
➤ According to Article 304 (b), the state legislature is authorised to pass Bill regarding the imposition of reasonable restrictions on the freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse within the state in public interest. Any such Bill requires the president’s prior approval for its introduction in the House.
Administrative Relations
➤ Administrative relations are given under Article 256 to 263, Part IX.
➤ The executive powers of the state should be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws of the union Parliament (Art 256).
➤ Powers of the state do not impede or prejudice executive power of the union (Art. 257) ➤ Under Article 258(2), the Parliament is given power to use the state machinery to enforce the union laws.
➤ State governments can suspend officials of All India Services in case of untoward happenings.
➤ State Government can’t take any disciplinary action against the officials of All India Services.
➤ The centre can deploy military and paramilitary forces in a state even against the wishes of the state Government.
➤ Under Article 262, the Parliament has power to adjudicate in case of disputes related to inter-state rivers.
➤ Under Article 263, the president has power to constitute a council to resolve the disputes or to discuss the matters of common interests between the states or between the state and union.
➤ The president has constituted three such councils so far. these are —
1. Central council of health
2. Central council of Local self Government
3. Transport development council.
Financial Relations
➤ Articles 268 to 293 in part IX are concerned with financial relations.
➤ The constitution makes a distinction between the legislative powers to levy a tax and the financial power to appropriate the proceeds of the tax.
➤ The residuary powers regarding taxes belongs to the parliament ➤ The state has little power regarding taxes.
➤ The state depends on centre for financial resources.
➤ The chief sources of finance is grants-in-aid from the centre.
➤ Under article 269, taxes levied & collected by the union Governments but assigned to the states.
➤ Under Article 270, taxes levied & collected by the union and distributed between the union and the states.
➤ Centre has powers to grant loans and provide Grant-in-aids to the states specially for promoting the welfare of SCs & STs
Finance Commission
➤ Article 280 of the constitution of India provides for a Finance Commission as a quasi-judicial body.
➤ It constituted by the president of India every fifth year or at such earlier time as he considers necessary.
➤ Finance Commission consists of a chairman and four other members to be appointed by the president.
➤ Function of the commission is to make recomendations to the president of India on following matters.
1. The distribution of the net proceeds of taxes to be shared between the centre and the states and the allocation between the states of the respective shares of such proceeds.
2. The principles that should govern the grants-in-aid to the states by Centre.
3. The measures needed to augment the consolidated fund of of the panchayats and the municipalities in the state on the basis of the recommendations made by the state finance commission.
4. Any other matter referred to it by the president in the interests of sound finance.
Inter-state Council
➤ According to Article 263, If at any time it appears to the President that the Public interests would be served by the establishment of a council charged with the duty of—
(a) Inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen during investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the states or the union and one or more of the states, have a common interest, or
(b) making recommendations upon any such subject and, in particular, recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject.
It shall be lawful for the president by order to establish such council, and to define the nature of the duties to be performed by it and its organisation and procedure.
➤ The duty of any such council is to inquire into and advice upon the relevant matters and not one of adjudicating.
➤ The Sarkaria Commission recommended
(1983-87) that in order to differentiate the inter-state council from other bodies setup under the Article 263.
➤ It must be called the inter-Governmental Council.
Zonal Councils
➤ Zonal councils are statutory bodies
(not constitutional) ➤ These councils are established under the Act of parliament.
➤ These councils play a very significant ➤ There are five zonal councils setup under the part III of the state reorganisation, Act 1956. These are following.
1. Northern Zonal Council — Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, NCT of Delhi & Chandigarh. Its head office is in New Delhi.
2. The Central Zonal Council — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh.
Its headquarter is in Allahabad.
3. The Eastern Zonal Council — Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim Its headquarter is in Kolkata.
4. The Western Zonal Council — Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Daman and Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
Its headquarter is in Mumbai.
5. The Southern Zonal Council — Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puduchery.
Its headquarter is in Chennai
North-Eastern council
States — Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh.
Its functions are same like the zonal councils.
➤ On the recommendations of Sarkaria Commission, under the leadership of V.P. Sing Janata Dal Government established a interstate council in 1990. Following are the members in it—
(i) Chairman – Prime Minister
(ii) Chief Ministers of all states
(iii) Chief Ministers of Delhi & Puducherry
(iv) Six Union Cabinet Ministers including the Home Minister ➤ The council should held at least three meetings in a year.
➤ The council has a permanent committee. It is established in 1996. the committee has the following members —
(i) Chairman – Home Minister
(ii) Five Cabinet Ministers
(iii) Nine Chief Ministers ➤ The council has a secretariat to help it. It is called the inter-state council secretariat. It is established in 1991.
National Commission for SCs
➤ The National Commission for Scheduled Castes is a constitutional body in the sense that it is directly established by Article 338 of the constitution.
➤ The commission consists of chairperson, a vice chairperson and three other members to be appointed by the president.
➤ The commission investigate all matters relating to the constitutional safeguards for the SCs and to report to the President on their working.
National Commission for STs
➤ Like the National Commission for schedules castes, the National Commission for schedule Tribes
(STs) is also a constitutional body in the sense that it is directly established by Article 338-A of the constitution.
➤ A separate National Commission for STs by bifurcating the existing combined National Commission for SCs and STs was done by passing the 89th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003.
➤ The commission consists of chairperson, a vice-chariperson and three other members to be appointed ➤ The commission investigates all matters relating to the constitutional safeguards for the STs and to report to the president on their working.
➤ Special officer for Linguistic Minorities mentioned in Article 350 -B of constitution.
➤ This office works for constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities and report to the president on their working.

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