Statutory body or authority means a non-constitutional body that is set up by an act of parliament. Statutory bodies are authorized to pass the law and take the decision on behalf of the state. The statutory body has sanctioned permission for Legislation that is the enactment of laws. Cabinet resolution should be passed to establish this body. The statutory body is an independent body. An Act of Parliament or an Act of State Legislatures creates a statutory body. The government has formed very important statutory bodies that cater to the responsibilities of the smooth functioning of the country.
List of the statutory bodies are:
National Commission for Minorities: For minorities, the Constitution of India has made various rights and security measures in Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State policy, and also the Fundamental Duties. National Commission for Minorities (NCM) was established under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 to provide social justice to various minorities in India. It is a forum for appeal for safeguards the rights and interests of India’s minority communities. The NCM Act lists functions of the Commission:
- To assess the progress of the advancement of minorities under the Union and states.
- To observe the working of defenses provided in the Constitution and union and state laws.
- To make suggestions for the adequate implementation of safe-conducts for the protection of minority interests.
- To look into, and take up particular complaints regarding deprivation of rights and protection of minorities.
The Current Chairperson for the National Commission of Minorities is Shri Ghayorul Hasan.
Armed Forces Tribunal: Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) is the military tribunal in India, established under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007. The Armed Forces Tribunal provides an efficient redressal device for the maintenance of three armed forces. The act was passed based on the recommendation of the 169th Law Commission Report and various Supreme Court directives. The AFT is composed of a Chairperson and two types of members being Judicial and Administrative. The number of both types of members is decided by the Central Government. Usually, each bench has one judicial member and one administrative member. Tenure of Chairpersons and members is four years. The jurisdictions of AFT are as follows:
- The territorial authority of AFT consists of the entire country and comprises the three armed forces of India being Army, Navy, and Air Force. Paramilitary forces don’t come under their authority.
- The AFT hears the appeal against any law, judgment, verdict, and decree passed by Court Martial and related matters.
- The Tribunal has the power to confer bail to any person in military custody, with or without conditions. If the Tribunal finds sentence given by Court Martial unjust or excessive, it has the power to dispatch the whole or part of the sentence, mitigate the punishments, commute the punishment to some lesser stringent punishment or enhance the punishment. It can also suspend the imprisonment and release the convict on parole.
- AFT is considered to be a criminal court concerning the Indian Penal Code, and Code of Criminal Procedure.
- Appeals against the decision of the AFT can be taken only in Supreme Court. High Courts are not allowed to entertain such appeals.
Current Chairperson of Armed Forces Tribunal is Chief Justice Rajendra Menon
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) of India is a quasi-judicial commission in India which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Its head office is in New Delhi. The commission is headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. The present head is Justice R K Agrawal, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1986 to protect the interests of the consumers. The objective of this law is to provide a simple, fast, and inexpensive mechanism to the citizens to redress their grievances in specified cases. By spelling out the rights and remedies of the consumers in a market so far dominated by organized manufacturers and traders of goods and providers of various types of services, the Act makes the dictum, caveat emptor (‘buyer beware’) a thing of the past. The act envisages three-tier quasi-judicial machinery National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – known as “National Commission”; State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is known as “State Commission”; and District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum – known as “District Forum”
National Law Commission: Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to work for legal reforms. The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice. Its membership primarily comprises legal experts. The Law Commission, on a reference made to it by the Central Government or suo-motu, undertakes research in law and review of existing laws in India for making reforms therein and enacting new legislations. It also conducts studies and research for bringing reforms in the justice delivery systems for elimination of delay in procedures, speedy disposal of cases, reduction in the cost of litigation, etc.
National Commission for Women: The National Commission for Women is a statutory body established in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990. This commission was for the first time recommended by the Committee on Status of Women in India in 1974 and then successive commissions and committees. The chairperson of the National Commission for Women is Rekha Sharma.
The major functions of the NCW Include:
- Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws
- Present reports to the central government on work done towards these safeguards
- Make recommendations for effective implementation of such safeguards to Union or state governments
- Review women related to legislations and bring out inadequacies and shortcomings
- Take up cases of violation of the law against women to appropriate authorities
National Human Rights: On 3rd March 1978 heinous crime happened in Patna, the Patna police brutally lathi-charged a demonstration of backward classes in front of the Assembly House. On 31st March 1978, police opened fire without warning in Raghunathpur Bazaar, Bhojpur District, killing four persons on the spot. On July 13, 1991, in Pilibhit District of U.P. 10 Sikh pilgrims were killed by U.P. police in false encounters. In the context of violence in Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, North-East, and Andhra Pradesh, the pressure from the foreign countries and the awareness among the people for the protection of human rights led to the creation of a National Human Rights Commission. Section 2(d) of the Act defined the expression of human rights by stating that “human right means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individuals guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India”. The chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission is Justice H.L Dattu.
The various functions performed by NHRC are to:
- Inquire suo motu or on a petition presented to it by any victim or any person on his behalf, into a complaint of a violation of human rights or abetment thereof or negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant, public authority, etc.
- Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the prior approval of such court;
- Visit, with permission to the State Government, any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection to study the living conditions of the inmates and make recommendations thereon;
- Review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation;
- Review the factors, including cases of terrorism that restricts the enjoyment of human rights and to recommend appropriate remedial measures;
- Study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation
National Green Tribunal: The Constitution of India through its directive principles of state policy (DPSP) mentions that “the state must protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country and bestow upon the citizens the duty to protect the environment”. In 2010, the government enacted the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act which enabled the creation of a special green tribunal that would handle the cases concerning environmental issues. The inspiration for this came from Article 21 of the Constitution of India which guarantees the citizens of India a right to a clean and healthy environment.
The functions of the National Green Tribunal are as follows:
- It is a body that has expertise in handling the disputes related to the environment which includes multi-disciplinary issues as well.
- The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, shall not bind the Tribunal as it is to be guided by natural justice principles.
- The jurisdiction of the Tribunal shall provide speedy trials of the environment-related matters and help in reducing the burden of cases pending in the higher courts.
- The National Green Tribunal need not follow all that is given under the Civil Procedure Code but can regulate the procedure by itself and applies the principle of natural justice in administering justice.
- The National Green Tribunal is not bound by the rules mentioned in the Indian Evidence Act.
National Commission for Backward Classes: The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 gives constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). It has the authority to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.
Powers and functions of NCBC:
- The commission investigates and monitors all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under the Constitution or under any other law to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
- It participates and advises on the socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
- It presents to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards. The President laid such reports before each House of Parliament.
- Where any such report or any part thereof, relates to any matter with which any State Government is concerned, a copy of such report shall be forwarded to the State Government.
- NCBC has to discharge such other functions about the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
- It has all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit.
Statutory bodies are established by acts that Parliament and State Legislatures can pass. A statutory body is an organization of government that is not demarcated in the 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 that a government considers effectively performed outside a traditional departmental executive structure. They fulfill 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 that are ruled under a 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.