Central Information commission

The Central Information Commission has been constituted with effect from 12-10-2005 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The jurisdiction of the Commission extends over all Central Public Authorities.

The Commission has certain powers and functions mentioned in sections 18, 19, 20 and 25 of the RTI Act, 2005.These broadly relate to adjudication in second appeal for giving information; direction for record keeping, suomotu disclosures receiving and enquiring into a complaint on inability to file RTI etc.; imposition of penalties and Monitoring and Reporting including preparation of an Annual Report. The decisions of the Commission are final and binding.

The Central Information Commission (CIC) set up under the Right to Information Act is the authorized body, established in 2005,under the Government of India to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not have been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act. The President of India, Mukherjee inaugurated the 8th Annual Convention of Central Information Commission (CIC) on 2 September 2013.

The Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.

How is Central Information Commission constituted?

  • Under the provision of Section-12 of RTI Act 2005 the Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a body to be known as the Central Information Commission.
  • The Central Information Commission shall consist of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and such number of Central Information Commissioners not exceeding 10 as may be deemed necessary.

What is the eligibility criterion and what is the process of appointment of CIC/IC?

  • Section 12(3) of the RTI Act 2005 provides as follows.
    (i) The Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee;
    (ii) The Leader of Opposition in the Lok- Sabha ; and
    (iii) A Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • Section 12(5) of the RTI Act 2005 provides that the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
  • Section 12(6) of the RTI Act 2005 provides that Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.

What is the term of office and other service conditions of CIC?

  • Section 13 of the RTI Act 2005 provides that the Chief Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall not be eligible for reappointment:
  • Section 13(5)(a) of the RTI Act 2005 provides that the salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of the Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner.

What is the term of office and other service conditions of IC?

  • Section 13(2) of the RTI Act 2005 provides that the Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall not be eligible for reappointment as such Information Commissioners provided.
  • Provided that every Information Commissioner shall on vacating his office under this sub-section be eligible for appointment as the Chief Information Commissioner in the manner specified in sub-section (3) of section 12 of the RTI Act 2005:
  • Provided further that where the Information Commissioner is appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner, his term of office shall not be more than five years in aggregate as the Information Commissioner and the Chief Information Commissioner.
  • Section 13(5)(b) of the RTI Act 2005 provides that the salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of an Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of an Election Commissioner.

What are the powers and functions of Information Commissions?

Complaints

Section-18. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Central
Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, to
receive and inquire into a complaint from any person,—

  • (a) Who has been unable to submit a request to a Central Public Information
    Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, either by
    reason that no such officer has been appointed under this Act, or because the
    Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public
    Information Officer, as the case may be, has refused to accept his or her
    application for information or appeal under this Act for forwarding the same to
    the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer or
    senior officer specified in sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central
    Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case
    may be;
    • (b) Who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act;
    • (c)Who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to
      information within the time limit specified under this Act;
    • (d) Who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers
      unreasonable;
    • (e) Who believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false
      information under this Act; and
    • (f) In respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to
      records under this Act.
  • (2) Where the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission,
    as the case may be, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the
    matter, it may initiate an inquiry in respect thereof.
  • (3) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the
    case may be, shall, while inquiring into any matter under this section, have the same
    powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil
    Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:—
    • (a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and compel them to
      give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or things;
    • (b) Requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
    • (c) Receiving evidence on affidavit;
    • (d) Requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office;
    • (e) Issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents; and
    • (f) Any other matter, which may be prescribed.
  • (4) Notwithstanding anything inconsistent contained in any other Act of
    Parliament or State Legislature, as the case may be, the Central Information
    Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may, during
    the inquiry of any complaint under this Act, examine any record to which this Act
    applies which is under the control of the public authority, and no such record may be
    withheld from it on any ground.
  • Appeals 


Section-19 –

  • (1) Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified
    in sub-section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a
    decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer,
    as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the
    receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the
    Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may
    be, in each public authority: 
    Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of
    thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient
    cause from filing the appeal in time.
    • (2) Where an appeal is preferred against an order made by a Central Public
      Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under
      section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party
      shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order.
    • (3) A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within
      ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was
      actually received, with the Central Information Commission or the State Information
      Commission:
      Provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information
      Commission, as the case may be, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period
      of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause
      from filing the appeal in time.
    • (4) If the decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public
      Information Officer, as the case may be, against which an appeal is preferred relates
      to information of a third party, the Central Information Commission or State
      Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give a reasonable opportunity of
      being heard to that third party.
    • (5) In any appeal proceeding, the onus to prove that a denial of a request was
      justified shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information
      Officer, as the case may be, who denied the request.
    • (6) An appeal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be disposed of within
      thirty days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding
      a total of forty-five days from the date of filing thereof, as the case may be, for
      reasons to be recorded in writing.
    • (7) The decision of the Central Information Commission or State Information
      Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding.
    • (8) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information
      Commission, as the case may be, has the power to—
      (a) Require the public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to
      secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including—
      (i) By providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form;
      (ii) By appointing a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information
      Officer, as the case may be;
      (iii) By publishing certain information or categories of information;
      (iv)By making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance,
      management and destruction of records;
      (v) By enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its
      officials;
      (vi) By providing it with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of subsection
      (1) of section 4;
      (b) Require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or
      other detriment suffered;

      (c) Impose any of the penalties provided under this Act;
      (d) Reject the application.
    • (9) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the
      case may be, shall give notice of its decision, including any right of appeal, to
      the complainant and the public authority.)
    • (10) The Central Information Commission or State Information
      Commission, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal in accordance with
      such procedure as may be prescribed.
  • Penalties 


Section-20 –

  • (1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information
    Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is
    of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
    Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused
    to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the
    time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for
    information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or
    destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any
    manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and
    fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so
    however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand
    rupees: 
    Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
    Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of
    being heard before any penalty is imposed on him 
    Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and
    diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
    Information Officer.
  • (2) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information
    Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is
    of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
    Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause and
    persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished
    information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely
    denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or
    misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request
    or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall recommend for
    disciplinary action against the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
    Information Officer, as the case may be, under the service rules applicable to him.

What is the reporting procedure?

  • Section 25 of the RTI Act 2005 provides that (1) the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission ,as the case may be, shall ,as soon as practicable after the end of each year, prepare a report on the implementation of the provisions of this Act during that year and forward a copy thereof to the appropriate Government.
    • (2)Each Ministry or Department shall, in relation to the Public Authorities within their jurisdiction, collect and provide such information to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, as is required to prepare the report under this section and comply with the requirements concerning the furnishing of that information and keeping of records for the purposes of this section.
    • (3)Each report shall state in respect of the year to which the report relates-
      (a)The number of request made to each public authority;
      (b) The number of decisions where applicants were not entitled to access to the document pursuant to the requests, the provision of this act under which these decisions were made and number of times such provisions were invoked;
      (c) The number of appeals referred to the the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission ,as the case may be, for review, the nature of appeals and outcomes of the appeals;
      Particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer in respect of the administration of this Act;
      (e) The amount of charges collected by each public authority under this Act;
      (f) Any facts which indicate an effort by the public authorities to administer and implement the spirit and intention of this Act;
      (g) Recommendations for reform, including recommendations in respect of particular public authorities, for the development, improvement, modernization, reforms or amendments to this Act or other legislation or common law or any other matter relevant for operationalizing the right to access information.

Competetion Commission

The Competition Act

Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘AamAadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices. With increased competition, producers will have maximum incentive to innovate and specialize. This would result in reduced costs and wider choice to consumers. A fair competition in market is essential to achieve this objective.  The goal of commission is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers.

The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.

Competition Commission of India

The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003. CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.

It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.

The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

Preamble to the Competition Act

An Act to provide, keeping in view of the economic development of the country, for the establishment of a Commission to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect the interests of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets, in India, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

To achieve its objectives, the Competition Commission of India endeavors to do the following:

  • Make the markets work for the benefit and welfare of consumers.
  • Ensure fair and healthy competition in economic activities in the country for faster and inclusive growth and development of economy.
  • Implement competition policies with an aim to effectuate the most efficient utilization of economic resources.
  • Develop and nurture effective relations and interactions with sectorial regulators to ensure smooth alignment of sectorial regulatory laws in tandem with the competition law.

Effectively carry out competition advocacy and spread the information on benefits of competition among all stakeholders to establish and nurture competition culture in Indian economy.

Notable cases[

  • In December 2010, CCI instituted a probe to examine if there was any cartelization among traders when onion prices touched 80 rupees, but did not find sufficient evidence of market manipulation.
  • In June 2012, CCI imposed a fine of ₹63.07 billion (US$980 million) 11 cement companies for cartelization. CCI claimed that cement companies met regularly to fix prices, control market share and hold back supply which earned them illegal profits.
  • In January 2013, CCI modified clauses in agreements between real estate company DLF Limited and apartment buyers.Business and finance Portal Moneycontrol.com welcomed the order saying that, “This is a landmark ruling and will benefit property owners across the country”. Some of the important modifications were:
    • The Builder cannot undertake any additional construction beyond the approved building plan given to the buyers. The builder will not have complete ownership of open spaces within the residential project area not sold.Not just the buyer but the builder will be liable for any defaults.All payments made by the buyers must be based on construction milestones and not “on demand”. The builder will not have the sole power to form the owner’s association.
    •  
  • On 8 February 2013, CCI imposed a penalty of 522 million (US$8.1 million) on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for misusing its dominant position. The CCI found that IPL team ownership agreements were unfair and discriminatory, and that the terms of the IPL franchise agreements were loaded in favor of BCCI and franchises had no say in the terms of the contract. The CCI ordered BCCI to “cease and desist” from any practice in future denying market access to potential competitors and not use its regulatory powers in deciding matters relating to its commercial activities.
  • In 2014, CCI imposed a fine of 10 million upon Google for failure to comply with the directions given by the Director General (DG) seeking information and documents.
  • On 17 November 2015, CCI imposed a fine of ₹258 crores upon Three Airlines. Competition Commission of India (CCI) had penalized the three airlines for cartelization in determining the fuel surcharge on air cargo. A penalty of Rs 151.69 crores was imposed on Jet Airways, while that on InterGlobe Aviation Limited (Indigo) and SpiceJet are Rs 63.74 crores and Rs 42.48 crores respectively.
  • In May 2017, CCI ordered a probe into the functioning of COAI(Cellular Operators Association of India) following a complaint filed by Reliance Jio against the cartelization by its rivals BharatiAirtel, Vodafone India and Idea cellular.

Consumer Commission

District consumer forum

District consumer forum pecuniary jurisdiction.

Pecuniary Jurisdiction of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies in India. At District level–Limitation up to 20 lakh (About 621 forums functional all over the country). At State level—Limitation up to one crore (About 35 State Commissions functional all over the country).

The District Forum consist of one president and two other members (one of whom is to be a woman).The president of the Forum is a person who is, or has been qualified to be a District Judge, and other members are persons of ability, integrity and standing, and have adequate knowledge or experience of, or have shown capacity in dealing with, problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration. They can hear the case involving amount of Rs. Twenty Lacs. It is situated in the District headquarters.

State Commissions A State Commission has jurisdiction in whole of the State for which it is constituted. It can hear the cases involving the amount more than rupees twenty lacs and up to rupees one crore. It has also jurisdiction to hear appeal against the orders of District Forum of that particular State. It is situated in the capital of the State.

State Commission consists of a president and two members one of whom is to be a woman.President is a person who is or has been a Judge of a High Court, and the members, are persons of ability, integrity and standing and have adequate knowledge or experience of, or have shown capacity in dealing with, problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration.

The National Commission consists of a president, and four other members (one of whom is to be a woman).The president should be the one who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court, and the members should be the persons of ability, integrity and standing and have adequate knowledge or experience of, or have shown capacity in dealing with, problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration.

Limitation and Appeals

Within what period can a complaint be filed

A complaint should be filed at the earliest but not later than TWO YEARS from the date on which the cause of action arose. However the Court may entertain the complaint after a period of 2 years if the complainant is able to satisfy the court that there was sufficient cause for the delay.

Appeals

An Appeal from the order of the District Forum lies to the State Commission, against the order of the State Commission to the National Commission and against the order of the National Commission to the Supreme Court.

All appeals are to be filed within 30 days of the order appealed against and are to be accompanied by a certified copy of the order.

Election Commission

A Constitutional Body

India is a Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic and the largest democracy in the World. The modern Indian nation state came into existence on 15th of August 1947. Since then free and fair elections have been held at regular intervals as per the principles enshrined in the Constitution, Electoral Laws and System.

The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.

Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional Body. The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950.

Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

For the first time two additional Commissioners were appointed on 16th October 1989 but they had a very short tenure till 1st January 1990. Later, on 1st October 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed. The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since then, with decision making power by majority vote.

Appointment & Tenure of Commissioners

The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.

The Setup

The Commission has a separate Secretariat at New Delhi, consisting of about 300 officials, in a hierarchical set up.

Two or three Deputy Election Commissioners and Director Generals who are the senior most officers in the Secretariat assist the Commission. They are generally appointed from the national civil service of the country and are selected and appointed by the Commission with tenure. Directors, Principal Secretaries, and Secretaries, Under Secretaries and Deputy Directors support the Deputy Election Commissioners and Director Generals in turn. There is functional and territorial distribution of work in the Commission. The work is organized in Divisions, Branches and sections; each of the last mentioned units is in charge of a Section Officer. The main functional divisions are Planning, Judicial, Administration, Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation, SVEEP, Information Systems, Media and Secretariat Co-ordination. The territorial work is distributed among separate units responsible for different Zones into which the 35 constituent States and Union Territories of the country are grouped for convenience of management.

At the state level, the election work is supervised, subject to overall superintendence, direction and control of the Commission, by the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, who is appointed by the Commission from amongst senior civil servants proposed by the concerned state government. He is, in most of the States, a full time officer and has a small team of supporting staff.

At the district and constituency levels, the District Election Officers, Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers, who are assisted by a large number of junior functionaries, perform election work. They all perform their functions relating to elections in addition to their other responsibilities. During election time, however, they are available to the Commission, more or less, on a full time basis.

Executive Interference Barred

In the performance of its functions, Election Commission is insulated from executive interference. It is the Commission which decides the election schedules for the conduct of elections, whether general elections or bye-elections. Again, it is the Commission which decides on the location polling stations, assignment of voters to the polling stations, location of counting centers, arrangements to be made in and around polling stations and counting centers and all allied matters.

Political Parties & the Commission

Political parties are registered with the Election Commission under the law. The Commission ensures inner party democracy in their functioning by insisting upon them to hold their organizational elections at periodic intervals. Political Parties so registered with it are granted recognition at the State and National levels by the Election Commission on the basis of their poll performance at general elections according to criteria prescribed by it. The Commission, as a part of its quasi-judicial jurisdiction, also settles disputes between the splinter groups of such recognized parties.

Advisory Jurisdiction & Quasi-Judicial Functions

Under the Constitution, the Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post-election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures. Further, the cases of persons found guilty of corrupt practices at elections which come before the Supreme Court and High Courts are also referred to the Commission for its opinion on the question as to whether such person shall be disqualified and, if so, for what period. The opinion of the Commission in all such matters is binding on the President or, as the case may be, the Governor to whom such opinion is tendered. 

The Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed by law. The Commission has also the power for removing or reducing the period of such disqualification as also other disqualification under the law.

Judicial Review

The decisions of the Commission can be challenged in the High Court and the Supreme Court of the India by appropriate petitions. By long standing convention and several judicial pronouncements, once the actual process of elections has started, the judiciary does not intervene in the actual conduct of the polls. Once the polls are completed and result declared, the Commission cannot review any result on its own. This can only be reviewed through the process of an election petition, which can be filed before the High Court, in respect of elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures. In respect of elections for the offices of the President and Vice President, such petitions can only be filed before the Supreme Court.

Electricity Regulatory Commission

Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), a key regulator of power sector in India, is a statutory body functioning with quasijudicial status under sec – 76 of the Electricity Act 2003. CERC was initially constituted on 24 July 1998 under the Ministry of Power’s Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998 for rationalization of electricity tariffs, transparent policies regarding subsidies, promotion of efficient and environmentally benign policies, and for matters connected Electricity Tariff regulation. CERC was instituted primarily to regulate the tariff of Power Generating companies owned or controlled by the government of India, and any other generating company which has a composite scheme for power generation and interstate transmission of energy, including tariffs of generating companies.

Appellate Tribunal and CERC

Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has been established by Central Government for those who are not satisfied with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission order or with a state. The Tribunal has the authority to overrule or amend that order, just like the Income-Tax tribunal or the Central Administrative Tribunal. The tribunal has to be approached within 45 days of the aggrieved person from getting the order.

Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and CERC

Since 1 April 1999 CEA has entrusted CERC with the task of regulating power tariffs of central government power utilities, inter-state generating companies, inter-state transmission tariffs. Section −76 of Electricity Act, 2003 stipulates that CERC shall consist of a Chairperson and three other Members. And one of the CERC members (Ex-Officio) has to be Chairman of CEA.
In Indian Power Sector, CEA takes care of:

  1. Planning Regulation where power demand and supply gap has to be regulated.
  2. Construction regulation where Construction of thermal-, hydro-, gas-based power plants and power systems are regulated in the right manner.

Whereas CERC take care of third aspect of power sector regulation –

3.Tariff regulation, a purely economic exercise.

National electricity policy is normally formulated in consultation with and taking into account the views of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), Central Electricity Authority (CEA), and state governments.[19]

Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission

The MERC was established on August 5, 1999 under the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 1998, a Central Act which was superceded by Electricity Act (EA), 2003. The Commission is continued as provided under Section 82 of the EA, 2003. The Act was mandated to promote competition, efficiency and economy in the power sector and to regulate tariffs of power generation, transmission and distribution and to protect the interests of the consumers and other stakeholders.

Functions of the Commission

The functions of the Commission as stated under the Section 86 of the Electricity Act (EA), 2003 are as following:

  • To determine the tariff for generation, supply, transmission and wheeling of electricity, wholesale, bulk or retail, as the case may be within the State
  • To regulate electricity purchase and procurement process of distribution licensees including the price at which electricity shall be procured from the generating companies or licensees or from other sources through agreements for purchase of power for distribution of supply within the State
  • Facilitate intra-State transmission and wheeling of electricity
  • Issue Licences to persons seeking to act as transmission licensees, distribution licensees, and electricity traders
  • Promote cogeneration and generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy
  • Adjudicate upon the disputes between the licensees and generation companies and to refer any dispute for arbitration
  • Levy fee for the purposes of this Act
  • Specify State Grid Code
  • Specify or enforce standards with respect to quality, continuity and reliability of service by Licensees
  • Fix the trading margin in the intra-State trading of electricity, if considered, necessary
  • Discharge such other functions as may be assigned to it under this Act
  • Advise the State Government as mandated under Section 86(2) of the EA, 2003

Electricity Ombudsman & Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums (CGRF)

In exercise of powers under Section 42(6) of the EA, 2003, the Commission has appointed vide its Notification dated 23rd December, 2004 Shri Wasudeo G. Gorde as the Ombudsman for Electricity for the state of Maharashtra. His address is

               Office of the Ombudsman (Electricity)

               Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission,

               Keshava Building,

               Bandra-Kurla Complex,

               Bandra (East), Mumbai 400 055

Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums
In compliance of the CGRF&EO Regulations, 2003, the respective Distribution Licensees have already constituted Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums (at various Zonal levels by MSEDCL)

Human Rights commission

human rights commission, also known as a human relations commission, is a body set up to investigate, promote or protect human rights.

The term may refer to international, national or subnational bodies set up for this purpose, such as national human rights institutions or (usually temporary) truth and reconciliation commissions.

National or subnational bodies.

National and sub-national human rights commissions have been established in a number of countries for the promotion and protection of their citizens’ human rights, and most commissions are public bodies but with some degree of independence from the state. In other countries the ombudsman performs that role. The commissions below are state-sponsored except where indicated.

Judicial Powers.

  • While enquiring into the complaint, the Commission is vested with all the powers of a civil court in the matter of trial of a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908. In particular, it has power to –
  • Summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath;
  • Order discovery and production of any document;
  • Receive evidence on affidavits;
  • Demand any public record from any court or office; and
  • Issue Commission for examination of witnesses or documents.
  • The Commission has its own investigating staff headed by police officer of the rank of Inspector General for investigating into complaints of human rights violation. It is also open to the Commission to utilize the office of any officer or investigating agency of a Central Government or State Government. It can also associate NGOs in their investigation work.
  • The Commission while enquiring into the complaints of violation of human rights may call for information or report from the Central Government or State Government or any other authority or organization subordinate to them within the time specified. If the information or report is not received within the specified time, the Commission may proceed to enquire into complaint on its own. If on the receipt of information or report the Commission is satisfied that no further enquiry is required or that the required action has been initiated or taken by the concerned government or authority it may not proceed with the complaint.
  • Where the enquiry discloses commission of violation of human rights or failure or negligence in the prevention of violation of human rights by a public servant, it may recommend to the concerned government or authority, initiation of proceeding or prosecution or such other action as the Commission may deem fit against the concerned person or persons.
  • The Commission may also approach the Supreme Court or the High Court for such direction, orders or writs as may be deemed necessary. The Commission may also recommend to the concerned government or authority grant of relief to the victim or members of his family as the Commission may consider necessary.
  • The concerned government or authority, as the case may be, has to intimate the action taken on the report or on recommendation of the Commission within a period of one month.
  • Jurisdiction of the Commission ordinarily extends to violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of violation of human rights in the State. However, even where such violation or negligence/ failure to prevent such violation takes place outside the State, in appropriate cases the Commission may either entertain the complaint or initiate action on its own initiative (suomotu) provided the National Human Rights Commission or the State Human Rights Commission of the concerned State (where violation or negligence/ failure to prevent the violation had taken place) has not initiated any proceeding with respect to such violation or negligence/ failure to prevent it.

Compost ion

Human right (Amendment) act 2006 consists of three members including a chairperson. The chairperson should be retired Chief justice of a High court.

The other members should be:

  1. A serving or retired judge of a High court or a district judge in the state with a minimum of seven years’ experience as District judge.
    1. A person having practical experience or knowledge related to human rights.

Functions

According to TPHRA, 1993 (with amendment act 2006), the commission is entitled to perform any of the following functions:

  • Autonomously investigate on a petition filed by a victim or any person on his/her behalf as a complaint of
  • Violation of human rights and instigation or
  • Negligence in the prevention of such violations by any public servant.
  • Get involved in any proceeding under allegation or violation of human right pending before a court with the approval of that court.
  • Inspect living conditions of the inmates in 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.
  • Review the safeguards provided in the constitution or any other law for the time it is in force to ensure the protection of human rights
  • Review the factors that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights
  • Undertake and promote research and awareness programs in the field of human right
  • Promote human right awareness through literacy campaigns, publications, seminars etc for the protection and safeguards available under human rights practices.
  • Encourage involvement of Non-Government Organizations and individuals for expansion work in the field of human rights awareness.
  • Perform any other functions that may be considered necessary for the promotion of human rights.

It is clarified that though the Commission has the power to inquire in violation of human rights (or instigation thereof) by a public servant. Instances where the human rights are violated by any individual citizen then the Commission can intervene, if there is failure or negligence on the part of a public servant to prevent any such violation.

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 reform. Its membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mande by the Government. The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Working of the Law Commission

The Law Commission works in close co-ordination and under the general instruction of Ministry of Law and Justice. It generally acts as the initiation point for law reform in the country. Internally, the Law Commission works in a research-oriented manner. Employing a number of research analysts (and even law students from 2007, the Commission works upon the assigned agenda and primarily comes up with research based reports, often conclusive and recommendatory. The permanent members of the Commission generally are responsible for framing the exact topic and reference to work upon and often takes the services of eminent law experts and jurists who are familiar with the matter under review. These experts may either work part-time with the Commission or may have been requested to contribute to specific reports or issues under review.

According to the Commission’s the Commission’s regular staff consists of about a dozen research personnel of different ranks and varied experiences with a small group of secretarial staff looks after the administration side of the Commission’s operationsand the internal functioning of the Commission can be described as a process with the following stages;

  • Initiation of projects at the Commission’s meetings;
  • Discussion of priorities; identification of topics and assignment of preparatory work to Members;
  • Adoption of methodologies for collection of data and research;
  • Outlining of problems and determination of areas for reform;
  • Consultations with public, professional bodies and academic institutions;
  • Evaluation of responses and preparation of draft of report;
  • Discussion and scrutiny of report, leading to its finalization; and
  • Forwarding of report to the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Once the Report is submitted to the Ministry of Law and Justice, the task of the Commission ends unless it is required to rework upon identified areas of provide clarifications by the Government on the report submitted. Upon receipt of the Report, it is the responsible for follow-up action on the recommendations made by the Commission in the Report. Generally the Ministry of Law and Justice forwards the Report with its remarks to other relevant Ministries in the Government of India and seeks from them their opinion on the relevance of the recommendation and finalizes with them the manner of implementation of these recommendations. When the proposals are cleared by the various Ministries and approved by the Cabinet, the Ministry of Law and Justice goes for drafting of the implementing legislation or follows the draft submitted by the Law Commission (which usually is the case) and presents the same for approval before the Parliament.

Composition of Law Commission

 The Commission is headed by a full-time Chairperson. It membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government. For example, the 21st Law commission would be comprised of: a full-time Chairperson. Four full-time Members (including a Member-Secretary). Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs as ex-offcio Member. Secretary, Legislative Department as ex- offcio Member not more than five part-time Members. The Commission is established for a fixed tenure (generally three years) and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice. Before finalizing its recommendations, the Commission needs to consult the law ministry. Law Commission works in close co-ordination and under the general instruction of Ministry of Law and Justice. It generally acts as the initiation point for law reform in the country.

Role of Law Commission in legal reform in India

The Law Commission of India, though an ad hoc body, has been key to law reform in India. Its role has been both advisory and critical of the government’s policies. The Supreme Court of India and academia have recognized the commission as pioneering and prospective. In a number of decisions, the Supreme Court has referred to the work done by the commission and followed its recommendations. The fact that the chairman of the commission is generally a retired judge of the Supreme Court has helped the prominence of the commission.

The Commission reviews judicial administration to ensure that it is responsive so that delays are eliminated, arrears are cleared and disposal of cases is quick and cost-effective without sacrificing the cardinal principle that they are just and fair. The Commission seeks to simplify procedure to curb delays and improve standards of justice. It also strives to promote an accountable and citizen-friendly government which is transparent and ensures the people’s right to information.

The recommendations of the commission are not binding on the government. The power vested in the commission to suo-motu take up matters for discussion and submit recommendations has also worked well to the advantage of India’s legal system. The history of the commission is replete with such recommendations which have been made in the wake of the hour and where the law has needed change. Further, the commission has been often returned to review its earlier reports in the wake of changed scenarios and the aptness of law in such situations.

With all its past and present works being continuously provided on the internet, the commission has also provided a firm assistance to legal research in the country. The fact that a number of its reports have been taken receptively by the various ministries and have been worked upon to change the legal scenario, is itself an indicator sufficient enough of the role of the commission in furtherance of law reform in India.

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CBD Belapur 400614
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