Board, Council, Committee, Commission, and Tribunal are all legal terms that are formed according to requirements. They occasionally coexist within the same organisation. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. In the case of Government entities, the relevant act governing that entity authorises the formation of such groups. In such cases, the act specifies the type of group that will be formed in accordance with the body’s requirements.
A board is a group of people who have complete authority to decide and control how a body operates. They are typically located at the organization’s apex. In other cases, each artificial legal entity has an apex board comprised of owners and managers. For instance, corporations, limited liability partnerships, and so forth. The board of directors is appointed by the organization’s true owners. Members may or may not have a fixed term. For example, the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), the State Electricity Board, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), among others.
Council is a governing body that is typically larger in size than the other types of groups discussed here. The members elect the council members. They serve as the people’s representatives. Thus, elections are held to elect the council. Councils are formed when a large group of people come together for a common purpose. Universities, colleges, and trade associations are just a few examples. Council members are elected for a fixed term. For instance, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), municipal governments, and the Project Export Promotion Council of India (PEPC), among others.
Committees are divisions of the primary body. They are created with a specific purpose in mind. The most common instance of committee formation is event organisation. When we organise an event, the committee is the group formed specifically for the event. Additionally, these committees are subdivided into numerous other subcommittees. Members of committees are generally chosen on the basis of merit or another criterion. Oftentimes, committees are formed entirely by volunteers. Members of the committee are appointed for the duration of their term. For instance, the Parliamentary Committee, the Kelkar Committee (2002), and the Swaminathan Committee (2004).
A Commission is similar to a Committee, except that it is formed by Government or Statutory bodies. For instance, when a government ministry wishes to conduct research on a particular subject, it establishes a commission. The commission’s members are either chosen or nominated by interested parties. Commissions may be permanent or temporary in nature, depending on their purpose. The commission’s members are appointed for a fixed term. For instance, the Election Commission (EC), the University Grants Commission (UGC), and so forth.
Tribunal is diametrically opposed to all of the above-mentioned groups. The tribunal’s members are current or retired judges. Occasionally, individuals with relevant experience and knowledge in the field are appointed as well. Tribunals are adjudicative bodies. They jointly decide on a variety of issues involving disagreements. Generally, it is one level lower than the High Courts. Tribunal members are appointed for a fixed term. For instance, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT), and the Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), to name a few.