Sunday, 28 July 2013

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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Public Service Commissions

According to Article 315:
  •          There shall be a Public Service Commission for the Union and Public Service Commissions for the States.
  •          A Joint State Public Service Commission (JSPSC) can be created for more than one State by an act of the Parliament on the request of the Legislature of the State concerned.
  •          The UPSC can also serve the needs of a State on the request of the State Governor and with the approval of the President of India.
The Chairman or any other member of a Public Service Commission shall only be removed from his office by an order of the President on the ground of

      ·   misbehavior (only if an inquiry of such misbehavior is made and upheld by Supreme Court) or
·   if he is adjudged insolvent, or
·   engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office, or
·   in the opinion of the President unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body.

Union Public Service Commission

Union Public Service Commission is constituted for the recruitment of the civil services at the union level.

  •          It consists of a Chairman and other members appointed by the President. The number of members of the Union Public Service communion is determined by the President.
  •          Nearly half of the members of the commission should have administrative experience, while the other half should come from liberal professions like law, academics etc.

Terms of Service:
  • They hold office for a period of 6 years or by the age of 65 years.
  • The Chairman and the members of UPSC can relinquish their offices at any time by addressing their resignation to the President.
  • The Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission shall be ineligible for further employment either under the Government of India or under the Government-of any State.
  • A member other than the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission shall be eligible for appointment as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission or as the Chairman of the State Public Service
  • The expenses of the Union Public Service Commission, including salaries, allowances and pensions shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. 
  •          To conduct examinations for appointment to the services of the Union and conduct interviews for direct recruitment.
  •          It shall be the duty of the Union Public Service Commission if requested by any two or more states, to assist those States in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment for any service.
  •          To advise the Union Government on:

                     1.  all matters relating to methods of recruitment to civil services and for civil posts
        2. the principles to be followed in making appointments to civil services and posts. And in making promotions and transfers from one service to another
                    3.    all disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the Government of India, including memorials or petitions relating thereto
                    4.    on any matter which the President may refer to the Commission.

State Public Service Commission (SPSC) and Joint Public Service Commission (JPSC)
  The Chairman and the members of the SPSC and the JSPSC shall hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of
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Comparison between UPSC AND SPSC
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All-India Services
Art. 312 if the RajyaSabha declared by resolution supported by not less than two-third of the members present and voting,
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  • Planning Commission is an extra constitutional and non-statutory body. In simple terms it is neither mentioned in constitution (extra constitutional) nor came into being by an Act of Parliament (non statutory). It was formed on the recommendation of Planning Board headed by K. C Neogi in 1951 by the executive order.
  • Its function is to prepare a plan for most effective and balanced utilisation of the country's resources.

  • Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of Planning Commission.
  • Deputy Chairman is nominated by Prime Minister. He has given the rank of a full Cabinet Minister.
  • The Planning Commission have advisory role.

National Development Council (NDC)

Solved Objective Questions related to this topic
  • The N.D.C. was set up for the first time in 1951 with a view to bringing about a coordination of plans between the Central Ministers and the State Governments.
  • It is the apex body below Parliament for decision making and deliberations on development matters in India.
  •  The Council comprises the Prime Minister, the Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers of all States, representatives of the union territories and the members of the Commissions.
  • The Secretary of the Planning Commission also acts as the Secretary to the NDC.
  •  It is an extra-constitutional and non-statutory body.
  • Its status is advisory to planning commission but not binding.


The functions of the Council are
1.   to prescribe guidelines for the formulation of the National Plan, including the assessment of resources for the Plan;
2.   to consider the National Plan as formulated by the Planning Commission;
3.   to consider important questions of social and economic policy affecting national development; and
4.   to review the working of the Plan from time to time and to recommend such measures as are necessary for achieving the aims and targets set out in the National Plan.

Lok Adalat

  • It was established in 1987 under the Legal Services Act (1987) of the Parliament. Hence, it is a statutory body.
  • LokAdalat is an alternativesystem of dispute resolution developed in India. It roughly means "People's court".
  •  The system of LokAdalats is an improvement and is based on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi.
  •  They are held periodically.
  •  These are usually presided over by retired judges, social activists, or other members of the legal profession.
  •  The LokAdalats can deal with all Civil Cases, Matrimonial Disputes, Land Disputes, Partition/Property Disputes, Labour Disputes etc., and compoundable criminal Cases.
  • The focus in LokAdalats is on compromise. When no compromise is reached, the matter goes back to the court. However, if a compromise is reached, an award is made and is binding on the parties.
  •  An important aspect is that the award is final and cannot be appealed, not even under Article 226 because it is a judgment by consent.
  • All proceedings of a LokAdalat are deemed to be judicial proceedings and every LokAdalat is deemed to be a Civil Court.


  • There are various levels of judiciary in India —the Supreme Court of India at the top, followed by High Courts in states, District Courts at districts and Magistrates of Second Class and Civil Judge (Junior Division) at the bottom.
  • The Indian judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government.

Supreme Court
  • The Supreme Court of India is the highest court of the land as established by Part V, Chapter IV of the Constitution of India.
  • Articles 124 to 147 of the Constitution of India lay down the composition and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India.
  • The original Constitution of 1950 envisaged a Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and 7 Judges – leaving it to Parliament to increase this number.
  • Parliament increased the number of Judges from 8 in 1950 to 11 in 1956, 14 in 1960, 18 in 1978 and 26 in 1986.
  • In 2008, The Parliament has increased the strength of Supreme Court to 31 (1 Chief Justice + 30 other judges).
  • The President can appoint adhoc Judges in the Supreme Court.
  • The senior most Judge of Supreme Court is appointed as the Chief Justice of India.
  • Supreme Court Judges retire upon attaining the age of 65 years. The Constitution does not prescribe time limit for a judge to occupy his office.
  • The proceedings of the Supreme Court are conducted in English only.


Qualification to be a judge of Supreme Court

1.  A person must be a citizen of India
2.  He/she must have been, for at least five years, a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession
3.  Or an Advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession for at least ten years
4.  Or the person must be, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist.

Selection or Method of Appointment of Judges:

There are various methods of selection of judges:
  1.  Election by the people- Such a system now prevails in certain Cantons of Switzerland. Although this method may sound highly democratic, such a method of selection of the judge is unsound. Ordinary voters are not qualified to consider the suitability of judges. Moreover, a popularly elected judge is likely to favor the party, which sponsored his election.
  2. Elections by legislature- This method is in vogue in Switzerland. Such a mode of appointment violates the theory of the separation of powers.Moreover, the judiciary cannot function as the guardian of the constitution. Judges elected by the legislature are not likely to declare acts of the same legislature unconstitutional. Thus, the independence and impartiality of the judges would be lost.
  3. By executive nomination- In India, the President of India nominates the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. This is a satisfactory mode of appointing the judges. Such appointments are generally made from and among the senior practicing lawyers.
  4. Through a competitive examination- In France, judges are selected on the basis of a competitive examination conducted by the Ministry of Justice. In India, too, judges of the lower courts such as Munsifs are selected on the basis of competitive examinations.
Of all these methods, the most popular is the last mentioned mode of choosing judges, for it ensures the independence of the judiciary.

Appointment of Judges of Supreme Court
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Independence of judiciary

The Constitution seeks to ensure the independence of Supreme Court Judges in various ways:
  1.        A Judge of the Supreme Court cannot be removed from office except by an order of the President passed after an address in each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting, and presented to the President in the same Session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
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  3.       The salary and other allowances of the Judges cannot be reduced during the term of their office except during financial emergency.
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  5.       A person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court is debarred from practicing in any court of law or before any other authority in India.
Jurisdictions of Supreme Court

1.       Original Jurisdiction (Article 131)

  1. This refers to the cases that directly originate in the Supreme Court.
  2. It has original jurisdiction in any dispute between:
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2.      Appellate Jurisdiction (Articles 132 to 136)
  • This refers to the power of reviewing and revising the orders of lower courts and tribunals.
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  • Normally, these appeals are in cases involving substantial question of law of general importance or interpretation of the Constitution or death penalty awarded by a High Court.
3.      Advisory Jurisdiction(Article 143)
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4.      Writ Jurisdiction
  • The Supreme Court is the guardian of the individual liberties and fundamental rights. It has the power to declare a law passed by any 
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Finance Commission

  • The Finance Commission of India came into existence in 1951 under Article 280 of the Indian Constitution.
  •  It was formed to define the financial relations between the Centre and the State.
  •  The Finance Commission Act of 1951 states the terms of qualification, appointment and disqualification, the term, eligibility and powers of the Finance Commission.
  •  The commission is appointed every five years.
  • It is a quasi-judicial body.

 It consists of a chairman and four other members.

The chairman must be a person having 'experience in public affairs, and the other four members must be appointed from amongst the following
 (a) A High Court judge or one qualified to be appointed as such;
 (b) A person having special knowledge of the finances and accounts of the government;
 (c) A person having wide experience in financial matters and administration;
 (d) A person having special knowledge of economics,
 (e) A person familiar with measures needed to augment the consolidated fund of a state to supplement the resources of the panchayats in the state.

Functions of the Finance Commission can be explicitly stated as:

 (a) Distribution of net proceeds of taxes between Centre and the States, to be divided as per        their respective contributions to the taxes.
 (b) The principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of revenues to the states out of the          consolidated fund of India;
 (c) Work with the State Finance Commissions and suggest measures to augment the                     Consolidated Fund of the States so as to provide additional resources to Panchayats and         Municipalities in the state.(added by 73rd and 74th Amendment Act)
 (d) Any other matter referred to the commission by the President in the interests of sound          finance.

The commission submits its report to the President and he lays down the report before the Parliament.

The recommendations of commission are only advisory and not binding on the Government.


  • The CentreState relation is described in constitution under Part XI
  • The Constitution provides a federal system of government in the country even though it describes India as ‘a Union of States’. The term implies that firstly, the Indian federation is not the result of an agreement between independent units, and secondly, the units of Indian federation cannot leave the federation. Therefore, Indian federal structure isoriented towards strong Centre.
  • In Indian federation there is clear division of legislative, executive and financial powers between the Center and the States. However, distribution of powers is more inclined towards Centre.

(a) Legislative Relations-
  • The Constitution divides legislative authority between the Union and the States in three lists- the Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List.
  • The Union list consists of 99 items. The Union Parliament has exclusive authority to frame laws on subjects enumerated in the list. These include foreign affairs, defence, armed forces, communications, posts and telegraph, foreign trade etc.
  • The State list consists of 66 subjects on which ordinarily the States alone can make laws. These include public order, police, administration of justice, prison, local governments, agriculture etc.
  •  The Concurrent list comprises of 46 items including criminal and civil procedure, marriage and divorce, economic and special planning trade unions, electricity, newspapers, books, education, population control and family planning etc. Both the Parliament and the State legislatures can make laws on subjects given in the Concurrent list.However, in case of conflict between the law of the State and Union law on a subject in the Concurrent list, the law of the Parliament prevails.
  • Residuary powers (Art. 248) rest with the Union government.
  • Parliament can also legislate on subjects in the State list if

  1. RajyaSabha passes a resolution by two-third majority that it is necessary to do so in the national interest. (Art. 249)
  2. During times of emergency, Parliament can make laws on subjects in the State List. Under Article 356 relating to the failure of constitutional machinery in the state, Parliament can take over the legislative authority of the state.
  3. For the implementation of international treaties or agreements, Parliament can legislate on state subjects. (Art. 253)
  4. If two or more states make a joint request to it to do so. (Art. 252)

Thus, the Centre enjoys more extensive powers than the states.

(b) Administrative relations-

The Indian Constitution made central administration strong in comparison to the state.

  • The executive power of every State must comply with the laws made by the Parliament (Art 256).
  • The Centre can direct the states in matters of national importance for example construction and maintenance of the means of communications declared to be of national or military importance, on the measures to be adopted for protection of the railways, for the welfare of the scheduled tribes and for providing facilities for instruction in mother tongue at primary stage to linguistic minorities
  • The Centre acquires control over states through All India Services.
  • Parliament can alone adjudicate in inter- state river disputes through River Water Tribunal (Art. 262).
  • During a proclamation of national emergency as well as emergency due to the failure of constitutional machinery in a state, the Union government assumes all the executive powers of the state.

(c) Financial Relations –
  • The financial relations between the Centre and State are derived from the Government of India Act of 1935.
  • In this sphere also the States are greatly dependent on the Centre for finances. The major source of finance for states is grants-in-aid given by Centre from the consolidated fund.
  • The Centre can exercise control over state finances through the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
  • During financial emergency the President has the power to suspend the provision regarding division of taxes between the Centre and the states.
  • The distribution of the tax-revenue between the Union and the States stands as follows.
(1) Taxes belonging to the Union exclusively:

Customs, Corporation Tax, Taxes on capital value of assets of individuals and companies, Surcharge on Income Tax, Fees in respects of matters in the Union List.

(2) Taxes belonging to the States Exclusively:

Land Revenue, Stamp duty except in documents included in the Union List, Succession duty, Estate duty, and Income tax on agricultural land, taxes on passengers and goods carried on inland waterways taxes on lands and buildings, mineral rights.
Taxes on animals and boats, on road vehicles, on advertisements, on consumption of electricity, on luxuries and amusements, etc. (This is being supplemented by a new system of Value Added Tax i.e. VAT).

(3) Duties Levied by the Union but Collected and Appropriated by the States:

Stamp duties on bills of Exchange, etc., and Excise duties on medical and toilet preparations containing alcohol. (Article 268)

(4) Taxes Levied as Well as Collected by the Union, but Assigned to the States:

Duties on succession to property other than agricultural land, Estate duty in respect of property other than agricultural land terminal taxes on goods or passengers carried by railway, air or sea taxes on railway fares and freights and so on.

Co- operative Federalism

  • Co- operative Federalism is to promote cooperation between Centre and States. The Indian Constitution provides for a number of mechanisms to promote co-operative federalism.
  • Article 263 empowers the President to establish Inter-State Council to promote better co-ordination between the Centre and States.
  • Under Article 262, the Parliament has passed the Inter-States Water Disputes Act, 1956 to set up Inter-States Water Dispute Tribunal to adjudicate any dispute with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of inter-State rivers.
Inter -State Council

  • It was formed on the recommendations of Sarkaria Commission in 1990.
  • It is headed by the Prime Minister and includes six Cabinet ministers of the Union and Chief Ministers of all the states and union territories.
  • The Functions of the Council is to discuss subjects, in which some or all of the States or the Union and one or more of the States have a common interest; and for the better coordination of policy.
Zonal Councils

  • Zonal Councils were set up under the State Re-organization Act, 1956, to ensure greater cooperation amongst states in the field of planning and other matters of national importance and foster balanced socio economic development of the respective zones.
  • The act divided the country into six zones and provided a Zonal Council in each zone.
  • Each council consists of the Chief Minister and two other ministers of each of the states in the zone and the administrator in the case of the union territory.
  •  The Union Home Minister has been nominated to be the common chairman of all the zonal councils.