The Punchhi Commission, a commission on centre-state relations set up by the Indian government in 2007, presented its Report in March 2010. What is the historical background of the Punchhi Commission Report? What was its recommendation on the Finance Commission? What was the commission’s recommendation on Governor? Scroll down the page to know more about Punchhi Commission Report.
In light of the changes to India’s polity and economy, since the Sarkaria Commission last examined Centre-State relations more than 20 years ago, the Punchhi Commission was established to look into the contemporary issues of Centre-State relations.
In March 2010, the Commission gave its report to India’s then-Home Minister.
Let us examine the report closely.
Also read: Center-State Relations
Punchhi Commission Report: Historical Context
A Commission on Centre-State Relations was established by the Indian government, with Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi serving as its head.
To examine and review the operation of the current agreements between the Union and States, as well as various court rulings regarding powers, duties, and obligations in all areas, including legislative relations, administrative relations, the role of governors, emergency provisions, financial relations, economic and social planning, institutions under the Panchayati Raj, and the sharing of resources like inter-state river water, among others. It was established on April 27th, 2007.
Highlights from the Punchhi Commission Report
- To look into what responsibility, power, and function the Centre might have during significant and protracted episodes of caste- or communal-based violence.
- We’ll also look at other aspects of the Centre-State relationship, like taxes and river connections.
- Investigate if a central law enforcement agency is obliged to launch investigations on its own into offences that represent a serious threat to national security and have interstate or international implications.
- To look into the value and necessity of different taxes for promoting interstate commerce and developing a unified domestic market.
- To advance the idea of independent planning and budgeting at the district level and tie various forms of central assistance to state achievement.
- To investigate whether supporting legislation under Article 355 is feasible.
- To look at how the Centre, with respect to the States, might best support the successful devolution of power and autonomy to local institutions and bodies under the Panchayati Raj system.
Punchhi Commission Recommendation on the Finance Commission
- Even handling of the matters outlined in the Finance Commission’s terms of reference should be done so between the Center and the States. The States should be included in the formulation of the Finance Commissions’ final terms of the contract in an efficient manner.
- It expressed worry over the rise in the amount of money being raised through cesses and surcharges. In order to reduce their contribution to gross tax income, it was advised that the Central Government review all of the current cesses and surcharges.
- Due to the strong connections between planned and unplanned spending, an expert committee may be formed to investigate how to distinguish between planned and unplanned spending.
- The Finance Commission and the Planning Commission ought to work much more closely together. This cooperation will be greatly enhanced by synchronising the Finance Commission’s and the five-year plan’s time frames. The Punchhi Commission advised that another period synchronisation attempt be conducted.
- The Ministry of Finance’s Finance Commission Division should be turned into a full-fledged department, according to the 12th Finance Commission’s recommendation. This would make it the permanent secretariat of the Finance Commission. This 12th Finance Commission recommendation was approved by the Punchhi Commission.
Commission On Governor
The commission gave its recommendations on the post of Governor to ensure cordial center state relations. They include :
- He needs to be from outside the State and a cool, aloof person who isn’t very involved in its regional politics. At least two years before his appointment, he should be someone who has not participated actively in politics, generally or particularly recently.
- After consulting with the Chief Minister of the relevant State, he must be nominated.
- It is necessary to establish a committee that will be in charge of selecting the governors. The Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the affected State’s Chief Minister may all be members of this committee.
- The Constitution’s Doctrine of Pleasure is repealed.
- His tenure in office must be guaranteed, and it shouldn’t be interrupted unless there are incredibly strong reasons or if he is the target of legal action. He must be given a fair chance to object to the grounds for removal and a chance to explain justification. In the event that the Governor is fired or resigns, the government is required to present a statement to both Houses of Parliament outlining the reasons for the termination or resignation, as applicable.
- Impeachment of the Governor is recommended by the state legislature.
Other Important Punchhi Commission Recommendations
Some other important recommendations of the Punchhi Commission are given below:
In the context of Article 355 and Article 356
- The report suggested that Articles 355 and 356 of the Constitution should be changed in relation to those two articles. By limiting the misuse of authority by the centre, the suggestion aims to protect the interests of the States.
- It was stated that the Center should just have control over the troublesome area rather than declaring an emergency over the entire state. An emergency should last for longer than three months.
Regarding the Communal Violence Bill
- According to the Commission’s recommendation, the Communal Violence Bill should be amended to allow the Centre to temporarily deploy its forces in the State without the State’s permission.
- Such a deployment of the military is only permitted for a week, after which the state must be consulted “post-facto.”
With regard to the Concurrent List
- Before laws are filed on issues that are on the concurrent list, the Commission advised that the States be consulted through the inter-state council.
Regarding the National Integration Council
- It suggested developing a superseding system for issues involving internal security. The National Integration Council could be the name of this organisation.
- Additionally, it was suggested that this council hold at least one annual meeting and that a delegation of five council members visits any communally afflicted area within two days.
Regarding the President’s veto power
- There should be a clause mandating that the State in question get notice within six months of the President’s decision to use his pocket veto power.
Regarding the Union’s authority to make treaties
- The commission recommended that the union’s ability to negotiate treaties be restricted to those involving subjects on the State list. This will increase the representation of states in their internal affairs.
- The Commission came to the conclusion that states ought to participate more in the drafting of treaties in response to their worries. This will make it possible for the various governmental levels to cohabit peacefully.
Punchhi Commission On Choosing A Chief Minister By The Governor
Additionally, the Punchhi Commission provided the Governor with several recommendations for selecting a Chief Minister. The following principles should guide the Governor in selecting a Chief Minister:
- The party or coalition of parties that enjoy the broadest support in the Legislative Assembly should be asked to form the government.
- The head of the party should automatically be requested to become the Chief Minister if that party holds an absolute majority in the assembly.
- In the absence of such a party, the Governor should appoint a Chief Minister from the party or group of parties listed below by giving each one of them a hearing in the order of preference listed below.
- A coalition of parties is established before the elections.
- With the backing of other parties, including “independence,” the largest single party stakes a claim to form the government.
- A post-election coalition of parties in which all the members form governments.
- A post-election coalition of political parties, including “independents,” with some members coming from a government and others supporting it from the outside.
Insightful recommendations for seamless coordination and cooperation between the union government and state governments were provided in the M.M. Punchhi Commission’s report. Some of the ideas have been put into practice, such as having the governor come from outside the state. To get the most benefit from these guidelines, they should be carried out within a sound framework.
Article Written By: Atheena Fathima Riyas