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Punchhi Commission’s Report

  • 02 Mar 2023
  • 5 min read

Prelims: Punchhi Commission’s Report, CJI, Inter-State Council’s (ISC) Standing Committee, Centre State Relationship.

Mains: Punchhi Commission’s Recommendations on Centre State Relationship.

Why in News?

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to start the process of seeking the states’ comments on the Punchhi Commission’s report on Centre-state relations.

What is the Punchhi Commission?

  • The Punchhi Commission was constituted by the Union Government in April 2007 under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Madan Mohan Punchhi.
  • The Commission examined and reviewed how the existing arrangements between the Union and States were functioning, as well as various court rulings regarding the powers, duties, and responsibilities in all areas, including legislative relations, administrative relations, the role of governors, emergency provisions and others.
  • The Commission presented its seven-volume report to the government in March 2010.
  • The Inter-State Council's (ISC) Standing Committee considered the suggestions of the Punchhi panel at its meetings in April 2017, November 2017, and May 2018.

What are the Key Recommendations of Punchhi Commission?

  • National Integration Council:
    • It recommended the creation of a superseding structure for matters relating to internal security (like the Homeland Security Department in the United States). This structure could be known as the ‘National Integration Council’.
  • Amendment to Article 355 and Article 356:
    • It advised that Article 355 and Article 356 of the Constitution should be amended.
      • Article 355 talks about the duty of the Centre to protect the state against any external aggression and Article 356 talks about the implementation of President’s rule in case of failure of the machinery of the state.
    • The recommendation seeks to protect States’ interest by curbing the centre's misuse of powers.
  • Subjects in the Concurrent List:
    • The Commission recommended that the States should be consulted through the inter-state council before bills are introduced on matters that fall in the concurrent list.
      • A concurrent list is one of the three lists; in this, the matters on which both State and Centre governments can formulate laws are mentioned.
  • Appointment and Removal of Governors:
    • The Governor should stay away from active politics (even at a local level) for at least two years prior to his appointment.
    • There should be a say of the state’s Chief minister while making the Governor’s appointment.
    • A committee should be formed that is entrusted with the task of appointment of governors. This committee may comprise the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Lok Sabha’s speaker and the concerned Chief Minister of the State.
    • The term of appointment should be five years.
    • Governor could only be removed via a resolution by the State Legislature.
  • Union’s Power of Making Treaties:
    • The treaty-making power of the union should be regulated with respect to treaties formulated in concern with the matters present in the State list.
    • This way, the states will get more representation in their internal affairs.
    • The Commission identified that the states need to be more involved in such kinds of treaties that are formulated in reference to their issues. This will ensure a peaceful co-existence between the different levels of the government.
  • Appointment of Chief Ministers:
    • Clear guidelines should be made with regard to the appointment of chief ministers so that the governor’s discretionary powers are limited in this aspect.
    • A pre-poll alliance is to be considered as a single political party.
    • The order of precedence while the State government is being formed should be the following:
      • The group/alliance with the largest pre-poll alliance with the highest number.
      • The single largest party with support from others.
      • The post-poll alliance with a few parties joining the government.
      • The post-poll alliance with a few parties joining the government and remaining including independents giving outside support.

Source: IE

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