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Section 3 – The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952

The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952



3. Appointment of Commission –


(1) The appropriate Government may, if it is of opinion that it is necessary so to do, and shall, if resolution in this behalf is passed by 2each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a Commission of Inquiry for the purpose of making an inquiry into any definite matter of public importance and performing such functions and with such time as may be specified in the notification, and the Commission so appointed shall make the inquiry and perform the functions accordingly.


Provided that where any such Commission has been appointed to inquire into any matter-


(a) By the Central Government, no State Government shall, except with the approval of the Central Government, appoint another Commission to inquire into the same mater for so long as the Commission appointed by the Central Government is functioning.


(b) By a State Government, the Central Government shall not appoint another Commission to inquire into the same matter for so long as the Commission appointed by the State Government is functioning, unless the Central Government is of opinion that the scope of the inquiry should be extended to two or more States.


(2) The Commission may consist of one or more members appointed by the appropriate Government, and where the Commission consists of more than one members, one of them may be appointed as the Chairman thereof.


3(3) [ Note: Ins by Act 79 of 1971, sec.5.] The appropriate Government may, at any stage of an inquiry by the Commission fill any vacancy which may have arisen in the office of a member of the Commission (whether consisting of one or more than one member).


(4) The appropriate Government shall cause to be laid before ( [ Note : Subs. by Act 19 of 1990, sec 2, for certain words.]each House of Parliament, or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State), the report, if nay, of the Commission on the inquiry made by the Commission under sub section (1) together with a memorandum of the action taken thereon, within a period of six months of the submission of the report by the Commission to the appropriate Government.




(i) It is essential that formation of opinion by the State Government as to Appointment of any Commission of Inquiry depends on its subjective satisfaction based primarily on an objective or real material and not merely on some vague allegations or hearsay evidence or to make fishing enquiry, State of Madhya Pradesh v. Arjun Singh, AIR 1993 SC 1239.


(ii) Since the appointment as Commission of Inquiry does not necessarily require the qualification of a sitting judge of High Court subsequent of such appointment does not invalidate it, Sardar Malkeet Singh v. State of U.P., AIR 1993 All343.


(iii) Just as a Commission appointed in pursuance to a resolution passed by the State legislature (or, as the case may be, the House of People cease) to exist on a resolution for discontinuance being passed by the appropriate House, similarly a Commission appointed in pursuance to the direction of the court shall cease to exist or discontinue with the government exercising its power under Section 7 of the Act only with the concurrence of such court. Directions of such court to the government in this behalf are in no way usurpation of latter’s power/ discretion. The powers in this regard of State Government and State legislature to constitute commission are independent, State of Orissa, Janamohan Fay, AIR 193 Ori 180.


(iv) Even though it is the discretion of the appropriate Government to set up a Commission under this section, the court can not be silent spectator to deteriorating conditions in the government run hospital and the miserable plight of the patients who, by and large, come from poor and weaker sections of the society. The court can intervene and appoint Commissioner (s) to go into the matter and submit their report (with suggestions of remedial measures to be taken). Thereafter, the court after giving due opportunities to both the parties, it may give such directions as it deems proper in public interest to such appropriate government, Siddha Raj Dhadda v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1990 Raj 34.


(v) Since the Commission appointed in exercise of executive power was ‘unacceptable’ as it suffered form fundamental infirmities on account of faulty, scrappy and untenable inquiry, there was nothing unreasonable & mala fide on the part of the government in appointing a Commission under this section of the Act, specially in the light of persistent and fervent demands for a further and deeper enquiry, R. Balakrishna Pillai v. State of Kerala, AIR 1989 ker 99.


(vi) By reason of non –placing of report of Commission before the legislature within the time limit prescribed by the relevant provision of this section, such report is not rendered void and the Government is not precluded from acting upon it especially when the legislature has not disapproved it, V. Narayana Rao v. State of A.P., AIR 1987 AP 53.


(vii) Petitioners in a public interest litigation have no legal or statutory right to compel the government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry even if there is a definite case of public importance, nor can the court, in such cases, issue directions to the government in that behalf, People Union for Democrative Rights v. Ministry of Home Affairs, AIR 1985 Del 268.


(viii) Fixation of Conference Hall of Inspection Bungalow of Kerala Sate Electricity Board as venue of siting of commission appointed for inquiry against erstwhile Minister for Electricity was held to be in noway adversely affecting a fair and proper inquiry, S.V. Purushothaman v. State of Kerala, AIR 1983 Ker 118.



1. This Act has been extended to—


Goa, Daman and Diu by Reg. 12 of 1962, sec. 3 and Sch.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli by Reg. 6 of 1963, sec. 2 and Sch. I (w.e.f. 1-7-1965).


Pondicherry by Reg. 7 of 1963, sec. 3 and Sch. I (w.e.f. 1-10-1963).


2. Subs. by Act 19 of 1990, sec. 2, for certain words (w.e.f. 28-8-1990).


3. Ins. by Act 79 of 1971, sec. 5 (w.e.f. 30-12-1971).


4. Sub-sections (5) and (6) omitted by Act 19 of 1990, sec. 2 (w.e.f. 28-8-1990). Earlier sub-sections (5) and (6) were inserted by Act 36 of 1986, sec. 2 (w.r.e.f. 14-5-1986).



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