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Report No. 24

3. Analysis of the Act.-

The Act is a short one, consisting of 12 sections. Section 2 defines, inter alia, 'appropriate Government' to mean the Central Government in relation to any matter relatable to any of the entries in List I or List H or List III in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, and the State Government in relation to any matter relatable to any of the entries in List II or List III in that Schedule.

Under section 3, a commission of inquiry for the purposes of making an inquiry into any definite matter of public importance may be appointed by the 'appropriate Government' of its own motion; but if a resolution in this behalf is passed by the House of the People or, as the case may be, the Legislative Assembly of a State, it is obligatory on the appropriate Government to appoint such a commission.

Where a commission is appointed by the Central Government, a State Government cannot appoint a commission to inquire into the same matter except with the approval of the Central Government, and conversely, where a commission is appointed by a State Government, the Central Government is barred from appointing another commission to inquire into the same matter unless the Central Government is of opinion that the scope of the inquiry should be extended to two or more States. A Commission of Inquiry may consist of one or more members.

Section 4 confers upon a Commission of Inquiry certain powers of a civil court (e.g., summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, etc.). Section 5 empowers the 'appropriate Government' to confer some additional powers on a Commission of Inquiry relating to the production of information and seizure of books of account or documents. Sub-section (4) of section 5 lays down that a Commission of Inquiry shall be deemed to be a civil court and when any offence as is described in section 175, section 178, section 179, section 180 or section 228 of the Indian Penal Code is committed in the view or presence of the Commission, it may forward the case to a magistrate for trial.

Sub-section (5) of section 5 enacts that any proceeding before a Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding for the purpose of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 6 confers upon persons giving evidence before the Commission protection from prosecution except for perjury. Section 7 empowers the 'appropriate Government' to dissolve a Commission when its continuance becomes unnecessary. Under section 8 the Commission may regulate its own procedure subject to any rules made by the 'appropriate Government'.

Section 9 contains the usual indemnity for action taken in good faith and section 10 provides that members of a Commission and other officers appointed by it to exercise functions under the Act shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code. Under section 11 the provisions of the Act may also be made applicable to a Commission of Inquiry set up by the appropriate Government in the exercise of its executive power. Section 12 authorises the appropriate Government to make rules to carry out the purposes of the Act.

Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 Back

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