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Commission of Inquiry

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Commission of Inquiry or Tribunal of Inquiry is a committee appointed finding out facts in matters of public importance. The commission will be given a 'definite matter of public importance' and will have per-determined start and end dates of its working in the notification. It will generally be headed by a Commissioner

  • They are appointed by the Central Government or the State Government by way of notification in the Official Gazette.
  • They are set up to maintain purity and integrity of the state political administration.
  • It is purely a fact-finding machinery set up to collect information
  • It does not have judicial veil or judicial powers.
  • They have powers of a Civil Court but does not confer on it the status of a Court.
    • Summoning and enforcement of attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath.
    • Requiring discovery and production of document
    • Receiving evidence on affidavits.
    • Requisitioning any public record or a copy thereof from any court of office.
    • Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents
    • Any other matter which may be prescribed.
  • Its proceedings have the character of a judicial proceeding.
  • The Commissioner is a public servant.
  • It has no direct powers of Contempt of Court but it can record the facts constituting the offense and can forward the case to the competent Magistrate.


  • Police firing
  • Lock-up deaths
  • Bomb explosions
  • Bus, Train or air accidents
  • Deaths due to illicit liquor etc

Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Law

  • Rama Krishna Dalmia vs Justice Tendolkar (AIR 1958 SC 538): Supreme Court rejected contention of Dalmias and approved the appointment of a commission in regard to complaints of business of Dalmias to the Central Government
  • State of J&K vs Bakshi Gulam Mohamad (AIR 1967 SC 122): Duties of Chief Minister pertain to public and hence a Commission to inquire into his illegal and selfish earnings is valid.
  • M Karunanidhi vs Union of India (AIR 1979 SC 899): Committee to look into the conduct of the affairs of the Karunanidhi's Government was upheld.

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