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Difference between Constitutional, Statutory, and Autonomous Bodies

From Prelims Sureshots » Government Bodies and Agencies

This topic of “Difference between Constitutional, Statutory, and Autonomous Bodies” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

Constitutional Bodies

  • Constitutional bodies derive their authority from the constitution. In other words, Constitutional Bodies are formed by the Constitution which helps the Government to run properly.
  • Each of these permanent or semi-permanent organisations is responsible for the administration of specific functions.
  • It is mandatory for the government to set up such a body and it cannot dispense off with it easily when it becomes uncomfortable.
  • Such bodies or institutions are written into the Constitution of a nation and can’t be abolished without amending that part of the Constitution which sometimes also requires the consent of the states. And also can be invalidated by the Supreme Court.
  • All the constitutional bodies have dedicated article in the constitution.
  • The chief of the constitutional bodies are appointed by either the President or the Prime Minister.
  • Cannot be a statutory body.
  • Can be an autonomous body. Example- Election Commission is both Constitutional and autonomous body.
  • Important bodies such as the Finance Commission, the UPSC, the Election Commission, the CAG, National Commissions for SCs and STs, etc. are constitutional bodies.

Statutory Bodies

  • Statutory body or authority means a non-constitutional body which is set up by the legislature. Therefore, an Act of Parliament or an Act of State Legislatures create a statutory body.
  • statutory bodies can be dissolved only by another legislation.
  • Statutory bodies are authorized to pass the law and take the decision on the behalf of state or country.
  • It cannot be a constitutional body.
  • It can be an autonomous body. Example: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is both statutory and autonomous organisation.
  • Examples: National Commission for Minorities, National Human Rights Commission, Armed Forces Tribunal, National Commission for Women, National Green Tribunal, etc.

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Autonomous Bodies

  • An Autonomous Body (AB) is set up by the government for a specific purpose.
  • It is independent in day-to-day functioning, but the government has some control over ABs.
  • The government funds ABs in some way — revenue expenditure, capital expenditure, or both.
  • It can be a constitutional body. Example: Election Commission – Constitutional and Autonomous.
  • It can be a statutory body. Example: Reserve Bank of India – Statutory and Autonomous.
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