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COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 60 of 1952


  • Act nº 60 of 1952

Preamble

THE COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY ACT, 19521

[ Act, No. 60 of 1952 ]

[14th August, 1952]

PREAMBLE

An Act to provide for the appointment of Commissions of Inquiry and for vesting such Commissions with certain powers.

BE it enacted by Parliament as follows:--

1. This Act has been extended to--

Goa, Daman and Diu by Reg. 12 of 1962, section 3 and Schedule

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

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


Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.

1[(2) It extends to the whole of India:

Provided that it shall apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir only in so far as it relates to inquiries pertaining to matters relatable to any of the entries enumerated in List I or List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to that State.]

(3) It shall come into force on such date2as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

__

1 . Substituted by Act 79 of 1971, section 2, for sub-section (2).

2 . 1st October, 1952, vide Notification No. S.R.O. 1670, dated the 30th September, 1952, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, section 3, p. 861.

Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(a) "appropriate Government" means--

(i) the Central Government, in relation to a Commission appointed by it to make an inquiry into any matter relatable to any of the entries enumerated in List I or List II or List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution; and

(ii) the State Government, in relation to a Commission appointed . by it to make an inquiry into any matter relatable to any of the entries enumerated in List II or List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution:

1[Provided that in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, these clauses shall have effect subject to the modification that--

(a) in sub-clause (i) thereof, for the words and figures "List I or List II or List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution", the words and figures "List I or List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir" shall be substituted;

(b) in sub-clause (ii) thereof, for the words and figures "List II or List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution", the words and figures "List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir" shall be substituted;]

(b) "Commission" means a Commission of Inquiry appointed under section 3;

(c) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act.

1. Added by Act 79 of 1971, section 3.


Section 2A. Construction of references to laws not in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir

[2A Construction of references to laws not in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir1

Any reference in this Act to a law, which is not in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, shall, in relation to that State, be construed as a reference to the corresponding law, if any, in force in that State.]

1.Inserted by Act 79 of 1971, section 4.


Section 3. Appointment of Commission

(1) The appropriate Government may, if it is of opinion that it is necessary so to do, and shall, if a resolution in this behalf is passed by1[each 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 within 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 matter 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 member, one of them may be appointed as the Chairman thereof.

2[(3) 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 2[each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State], the report, if any, of the Commission on the inquiry made by the Commission under subsection (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.]

3[***]

1. Substituted by Act 19 of 1990, section 2, for certain words.

2. Inserted by Act 79 of 1971, section 5.

3. Sub-sections (5) and (6) omitted by Act 19 of 1990, Section 2, which were Inserted by Act 36 of 1986, Section 2 (w.r.e.f. 14-5-1986).


Section 4. Powers of Commission

The Commission shall have the powers of a civil court, while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), in respect of the following matters, namely:--

(a)1[summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India] and examining him on oath;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document;

(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;

(e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;

(f) any other matter which may be prescribed.

1. Substituted by Act 79 of 1971, section 6, for certain words.


Section 5. Additional powers of Commission

(1) Where the appropriate Government is of opinion that, having regard to the nature of the inquiry to be made and other circumstances of the case, all or any of the provisions of subsection (2) or sub-section (3) or sub-section (4) or sub-section (5) should be made applicable to a Commission, the appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that all or such of the said provisions as may be specified in the notification shall apply to that Commission and on the issue of such a notification, the said provisions shall apply accordingly.

(2) The Commission shall have power to require any person, subject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject-matter of the inquiry1[and any person so required shall be deemed to be legally bound to furnish such information within the meaning of section 176 and section 177 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860)].

(3) The Commission or any officer, not below the rank of a Gazetted Officer, specially authorised in this behalf by the Commission may enter any building or place where the Commission has reason to believe that any books of account or other documents relating to the subject-matter of the inquiry may be found, and may seize any books of account or documents or take extracts or copies therefrom, subject to the provisions of section 102 and section 103 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898), in so far as they may be applicable.

(4) The Commission shall be deemed to be a civil court and when any offence as is described in section 175, section 178, section 179, section 180 or section 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) is committed in the view or presence of the Commission, the Commission may, after recording the facts constituting the offence and the statement of the accused as provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898), forward the case to a magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same and the magistrate to whom any such case is forwarded shall proceed to hear the complaint against the accused as if the case had been forwarded to him under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

(5) Any proceeding before the Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

1. Inserted by Act 79 of 1971, section 7.


Section 5A. Power of Commission to utilise the services of certain officers and investigation agencies for conducting investigation pertaining to inquiry

[5A. Power of Commission to utilise the services of certain officers and investigation agencies for conducting investigation pertaining to inquiry1

(1) The Commission may, for the purpose of conducting any investigation pertaining to the inquiry, utilise the services,--

(a) in the case of a Commission appointed by the Central Government, of any officer or investigation agency of the Central Government or any State Government with the concurrence of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be; or

(b) in the case of a Commission appointed by the State Government, of any officer or investigation agency of the State Government or Central Government with the concurrence of the State Government or the Central Government, as the case may be.

(2) For the purpose of investigating into any matter pertaining to the inquiry, any officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1) may, subject to the direction and control of the Commission,--

(a) summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examine him;

(b) require the discovery and production of any document; and

(c) requisition any public record or copy thereof from any office.

(3) The provisions of section 6 shall apply in relation to any statement made by a person before any officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub section (1) as they apply in relation to any statement made by a person in the course of giving evidence before the Commission.

(4) The officer or agency, whose services are utilised under sub-section (1), shall investigate into any matter pertaining to the inquiry and submit a report thereon (hereafter in this section referred to as the investigation report) to the Commission within such period as may be specified by the Commission in this behalf.

(5) The Commission shall satisfy itself about the correctness of the facts stated and the conclusions, if any, arrived at in the investigation report submitted to it under sub-section (4), and for this purpose the Commission may make such inquiry (including the examination of the person or persons who conducted or assisted in the investigation) as it thinks fit.

1. Inserted by Act 79 of 1971, section 8.


Section 5B. Power of Commission to appoint assessors

[5B. Power of Commission to appoint assessors1

The Commission may, for the purpose of condcuting any inquiry, appoint persons having special knowledge of any matter connected with the inquiry as assessors, to assist and advise the Commission in the inquiry and the assessors shall be entitled to such travelling and other expenses as may be prescribed.]

1. Inserted by Act 63 of 1988, section 2.


Section 6. Statements made by persons to the Commission

No statement made by a person in the course of giving evidence before the Commission shall subject him to, or be used against him in, any civil or criminal proceeding except a prosecution for giving false evidence by such statement:

Provided that the statement--

(a) is made in reply to a question which he is required by the Commission to answer, or

(b) is relevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry.

Section 6A. Persons not obliged to disclose secret process of manufacture of goods in certain cases

[6A. Persons not obliged to disclose secret process of manufacture of goods in certain cases1

Except in cases where a Commission is expressly required to inquire into the process of manufacture of any goods, nothing in this Act shall be deemed to compel any person giving evidence before the Commission to disclose any secret process of manufacture thereof.]

1. Inserted by Act 79 of 1971, section 9.


Section 7. Commission to cease to exist when so notified

[7. Commission toceaseto exist when so notified1

(1) The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare that--

(a) a Commission (other than a Commission appointed in pursuance of a resolution passed by 3[each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State] shall cease to exist, if it is of opinion that the continued existence of the Commission is unnecessary;

(b) a Commission appointed in pursuance of a resolution passed by2[each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State] shall cease to exist if a resolution for the discontinuance of the Commission is passed by2[each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State].

(2) Every notification issued under sub-section (1) shall specify the date from which the Commission shall cease to exist and on the issue of such notification, the Commission shall cease to exist with effect from the date specified therein.]

1 . Substituted by Act 79 of 1971, section 10, for section 7.

2 . Substituted by Act 19 of 1990, section 3, for certain words.


Section 8. Procedure to be followed by the Commission

The Commission shall, subject to any rules that may be made in this behalf, have power to regulate its own procedure (including the fixing of places and times of its sittings and deciding whether to sit in public or in private)1[* * *].

1. Certain words omitted by Act 79 of 1971, section 11.


Section 8A. Inquiry not to be interrupted by reason of vacancy or change in the constitution of the Commission

1[8A. Inquiry not to be interrupted by reason of vacancy or change in the constitution of the Commission

(1) Where the Commission consists of two or more members, it may act notwithstanding the absence of the Chariman or any other member or any vacancy among its members.

(2) Where during the course of an inquiry before a Commission, a change has taken place in the constitution of the Commission by reason of any vacancy having, been filed or by any other reason, it shall not be necessary for the Commission to commence the inquiry a fresh and the inquiry may be continued from the stage at which the change took place.

1 . Inserted by Act 79 of 1971, section 12.


Section 8B. Persons likely to be prejudicially affected to be heard

If, at any stage of the inquiry, the Commission,--

(a) considers it necessary to inquire into the conduct of any person; or

(b) is of opinion that the reputation of any person is likely to be prejudicially affected by the inquiry,

the Commission shall give to that person a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the inquiry and to produce evidence in his defence:

Provided that nothing in this section shall apply where the credit of a witness is being impeached.