Report No. 24
6. Differences between the English and Indian Acts.-
As already mentioned,1 the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 is largely modelled on the English Act, but it differs from it in certain respects. The Indian Act empowers the Government to set up a Commission of Inquiry suo motu. There is no corresponding provision in the English Act. Under the English Act a resolution of both Houses of Parliament is required for setting up a Tribunal of Inquiry, while the Indian Act requires a resolution of the House of the People only, or, as the case may be, the Legislative Assembly of a State.
The English Act does not make the resolution binding on the Government, although normally the Government would respect the wishes of Parliament; but in India, the resolution of the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly is binding on the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be. The English Act provides that if any contempt of the Tribunal is committed, the Tribunal can refer the matter to the High Court which will punish or take steps for the punishment of the person guilty of contempt in like manner as if he had been guilty of contempt of the High Court.
There is no such provision in the Indian Act. The English Act expressly provides that an inquiry shall generally be held in public. The Indian Act leaves it to the Commission to hold its sittings in public or in private. The Indian Act provides that where any authority, by whatever name called, other than a Commission appointed under the Act has been, or is set up, under any resolution or order of the Government for the purpose of making an inquiry into any matter of public importance, the Government may direct that all or any of the provisions of the Act shall be applicable to that authority. There is no corresponding provision in the English Act.
1. Para. 5, supra, opening sentence.