India’s Constitutional bodies refers to a number of bodies or institutions which help in governance and act as watchdogs in specific spheres.
For instance, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is at the forefront each time an election is held. We take a look at some of the important constitutional bodies in India.
Election Commission of India (ECI)
The Election Commission of India is responsible for ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections in the country. These include elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state legislatures. The commission also conducts the election of the President and the Vice-President.
The commission is headed by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) who is assisted by one or more Election Commissioners as appointed by the government. Besides the actual conduct of elections, its responsibilities also include scrutinizing election expenses and registration of political parties.
Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)
The CAG of India plays the role of a watchdog when it comes to scrutinizing the expenditure by the government under different heads and projects. Over the years, its annual reports have brought to light many anomalies in the manner in which finances allocated for specific purposes were used and losses caused to the state exchequer due to faulty implementation of projects and programmes.
CAG reports on the accounts of the central government and its departments, including Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), are tabled in Parliament every year. Similarly, CAG reports detailing the accounts of state governments, their departments and state undertakings are tabled in the state assembly each year.
The founding father of the Indian Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar, had told the Constituent Assembly that the CAG was possibly the most important officer in the country as he kept a close watch on how government money was being spent.
Attorney General of India
The Attorney General (AG) is the Indian government’s senior-most legal officer. It is the duty of the AG, who holds the rank of a Supreme Court Judge, to advise the government on legal matters on which his or her opinion is sought.
The Attorney General appears in the Supreme Court in cases involving the Indian government. He can, however, appear in all courts across the country depending on the government’s requirements.
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
The UPSC is responsible for recruitments to All India Services, Central Services and services of Union Territories. It is headed by a Chairman and has 8-10 other members as decided by the President of India.
The commission is tasked with framing and amending recruitment rules for different government services and posts. It also looks into disciplinary issues relating to government services.
The All India Services whose members are selected under the examination and interview process conducted by the UPSC include the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS), the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) to name a few.
Finance Commission of India
The Constitution provides for a Finance Commission of India to decide on the distribution of taxes between the central and state governments in keeping with the country’s federal structure. It is headed by a chairman and has other members appointed by the President of India.