Constitutional Bodies-Part1

Comments (0)
Constitutional bodies are the institutions/offices created under the Constitution and occupy higher positions in their respective disciplines at the center and at state.There are broadly five constitutional bodies under the constitution of India :
1.Attorney General of India
2.Advocate General of state
3.Comptroller and Auditor General of India
4.Public Service Commissions
5.Others
                                                                          Attorney General of India
⇒ The word ‘Attorney’ means a person who is highly appointed to transact business on another’s behalf (here a lawyer).
⇒ The word ‘Attorney General’ means a chief law officer of a nation or state who represents the government in litigation and services as its principal legal adviser.
⇒ The constitution of India has provided for the office of the Attorney General of India since 1950
⇒ The articles 76, 88 and 105 of the constitution of India deal with Attorney General of India.
 
Article 76: Attorney General of India
(1) A person is appointed by the president of India as Attorney General of India who is qualified to be appointed as a Judge of Supreme Court.
(2) It is the duty of Attorney General to perform duties such as advice to the government on legal matters from time to time as assigned by the president or any functions under the law for the time being in force.
(3) Attorney General shall have right of audience in all courts in the territory of India while exercising or discharging his duties.
(4) Attorney General shall hold office during the pleasure of the president and shall receive such remuneration as the president may determine.
 
Article 88: Rights of Attorney General as respects House
By the virtue of this article, Attorney General has the rights to speak in and take part in proceedings of either of House, any joint sitting of House and any committee of parliament of which he may be named as a member but shall not be entitled to vote.
Article 105(4): By virtue of his office, he is entitled to the privileges of a member of parliament.
 
The duties assigned to him by the President:
To appear on behalf of Government of India in all cases in Supreme Court in which the Government of India is concerned.
To appear on behalf of Government of India in all cases in High Court in which the Government of India is concerned.
⇒ To represent the Government of India in any reference mode by the president to the Supreme court under article 143 of the constitution.
 
Constraints:
Should not advise or hold a brief against Government of India.
Should not advise or hold a brief in cases in which he is called upon to advise or appear for the Government of India.
Should not defend accused persons in criminal prosecutions without the permission of the Government of India.
Should not accept appointment as a director in any company or corporation without the permission of Government of India.
 
Snippets:
He is not a whole time counsel for the Government nor a Government servant.
Term of office is not fixed by the constitution.
He can resign writing to the president.
He is not debarred from private legal practice.
The Solicitor General and Additional Solicitor General assist Attorney General of India in fulfilling their official responsibilities.
Goolam Essaji Vahanvati is current Attorney General of India.
 
                                                                                   Advocate General of State
Articles 165, 177 and 194 of the Constitution of India deal with Advocate General of State.
 
Article 165: Advocate General of India
(1) A person is appointed by the Governor of State as Advocate General of state who is qualified to be appointed as a Judge of High Court.
(2) It is the duty of Advocate General to perform duties such as advice to the government on legal matters from time to time as assigned by the Governor or any functions under the law for the time being in force.
(3) Advocate General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor and shall receive such remuneration as the Governor may determine.
 
Article 177: Rights of Advocate General as respects House
By the virtue of this article, Advocate General has the rights to speak in and take part in proceedings of either of House, any joint sitting of House and any committee of Legislative Assembly of which he may be named as a member but shall not be entitled to vote.
Article 194(4): By virtue of his office, he is entitled to the privileges of a member of Legislative Assembly.
 
 
                                                         Comptroller and Auditor General of India
The word ‘Comptroller’ means a public official who audits government accounts and sometimes certifies expenditure.
Thus, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India audits accounts of India.
Articles 148, 149, 150 and 151 of the Constitution deal with Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
 
Article 148: Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
(1) A person be appointed as Comptroller and Auditor General of India by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and shall only be removed from the office in  like manner and on the like grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.
(2) Every person appointed as Comptroller and Auditor General of India should subscribe an oath or affirmation before the president or some person in his behalf according to purpose laid down in third schedule.
(3) The salary and other conditions of Comptroller and Auditor General of India shall be determined by the parliament by law or shall be as specified in schedule two.
(4) After he is ceased from office, he shall be disqualified for any further office either Government of India or Government of state.
(5) The conditions of services of staff of Indian Audits and Accounts Department and the administration powers of Comptroller and Auditor General of India shall be as such rules made by President after consultation with Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
(6) The salary of Comptroller and Auditor General of India and his staff and administrative expenses of his office shall be charged on Consolidated Fund of India and thus be non-votable.
 
Article 149: Duties and powers of Comptroller and Auditor General of India:
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India shall perform such duties and exercise such powers in relation to the accounts of the union and of states as may be prescribed by the parliament.
In wake of this, parliament enacted the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (duties, powers and conditions of service) Act, 1971 which was amended in 1976 freed Comptroller and Auditor General of India from compiling accounts but confined to audit alone.
In addition to the above few other provisions of the Act of 1976 relating to the duties of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India are:
 
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India audits and reports the following expenditure:
i.  Consolidated Fund of India
ii. Consolidated Fund of States and UTs
iii. Contingency Funds
iv. Public Accounts of the Union and States.
v. Trading, Manufacturing, Profit and Loss of states/UTs.
vi. Proper allocation of revenue
vii.State or Union substantially financed authorities.
viii.Government companies
ix.Other corporations when required.
 
Article 150: Form of accounts of the Union and of the states
The accounts of the union and of state shall be kept in such form as the president may on advice of Comptroller and Auditor General of India, prescribe.
 
Article 151: Audit Reports
i. The reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India relating to the accounts of the union shall be submitted to the president, who shall cause them to be laid before each house of Parliament.
ii. The reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India relating to the accounts of the state shall be submitted to the Governor, who shall cause them to be laid before each Legislature of the state.
 
Independence of Comptroller and Auditor General of India:
In order to enable the Legislature to discharge this function aptly, it is customary that this legislature should be aided by an agency fully independent of the executive, who would scrutinize the financial transactions of the Government and bring the results of such scrutiny before the legislature. Thus Comptroller and Auditor General of India is made independent. The provisions for his independence are:
Security of tenure. He holds office for a period of six years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. He can resign any time from office by writing to the president. Though he is appointed by the president, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India can only be removed  only on the address of both houses of parliament with a special majority on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
He is not eligible for further office, either under the Government of India or of any state, after he ceases to hold his office.
The salary and other service conditions are determined by the parliament. This salary is equal to that of a judge of a supreme court.
No minister can represent the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in parliament and no minister can be called upon to take any responsibility for any actions done by him.
 
Miscellaneous issues related to Comptroller and Auditor General of India:
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India submits three audit reports to the President – audit report on appropriation accounts, audit reports on finance accounts and audit reports on public undertakings. After this the public accounts committee examines them and reports its findings to the parliament.
The role of Comptroller and Auditor General of India in auditing of public corporations is limited. Like some corporations are audited totally by Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Example: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation). Some corporations are audited by private professional auditors who are appointed by central government in consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Example: Industrial Finance Corporation) and some corporations are totally audited by private persons and they submit report directly to parliament (Example: Reserve Bank of India, State Bank of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Food Corporation of India etc).
In K. Vasudavan Nair vs Union of India, it is made clear that article 148(5) does not preclude the president from referring the matter to the pay commission provided the final rules are made after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
 
Criticism:
Though the office says Comptroller and Auditor General of India, he does not perform duties of a Comptroller unlike British Comptroller and Auditor General.
Colonial hang over
Repressive and negative influence.
Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s inadequate knowledge in administration.
The current Comptroller and Auditor General of India is Shasi Kanth Sharma.

CONTINUED.......Constitutional bodies Part-2

Practice Questions
Q1
Q.no:-1/5