People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 09

February 27, 2011


Discipline Commission:

Step to Improve Party Functioning


Prakash Karat


THE CPI(M) prides itself as being an organisation wedded to the principle of serving the people. As a Communist Party, its members are pledged to put the working class and the country before self and personal interests.  There are tens of thousands of cadres of the Party who are selflessly working and serving the people. This is what has enabled the Party to win the support of the people.  It is the political and ideological consciousness of the Party cadres that enables them to withstand the corrosive and corrupt influences that pervade society today.


Society in India is enveloped by corruption in all spheres, loot of public resources and the degeneration of public servants. Under the neo-liberal regime, big money has invaded the political system. Big capital is increasingly suborning the bourgeois political parties and governments. The big business-politician-bureaucrat nexus promotes corruption and wrongdoing and this is having its corrosive effects at all levels of society.


The CPI(M) has to be doubly vigilant in such an atmosphere to maintain its revolutionary character and high standards and to see that corruption and malpractices do not infiltrate its ranks. The Party has to be particularly careful to see that its elected representatives, those holding public offices and positions of responsibility in the Party do not indulge in wrong practices or fall prey to wrong trends.




These matters were discussed in the Party as part of the rectification campaign. One of the steps taken as a result is the setting up of a Central Discipline Commission consisting of a Polit Bureau member as the chairman and three other members of the Central Committee.  The four-member commission consists of S Ramachandran Pillai (chairman), Madan Ghosh, U Vasuki and V Srinivasa Rao.


The setting up of the commission is an outcome of the decision of the resolution On Rectification Campaign adopted by the Central Committee in October 2009.  The necessity for such a commission was explained in the resolution on the rectification campaign.  The commission is meant to ensure that complaints of corruption or violation of Communist norms by cadres of the Party are examined without delay and action taken where necessary.


The resolution states: “Experience shows that many Party Committees are not taking prompt action when complaints are received about cases of corruption or malpractice by Party cadres and leaders. Often the Party committees are unable to initiate action due to various reasons such as factional trends, liberalism and reluctance to antagonise an important Party cadre.


The scope of the Discipline Commission is to take up complaints about corruption, malpractices and violation of Communist norms and values by cadres and leaders of the Party at various levels.  The Discipline Commission will examine the complaints received and, if it considers it appropriate, it can instruct the concerned state committee to conduct investigations either by the state committee or by any lower committee and take a decision on that matter within a specified time limit.  The Central Committee has framed Rules for the functioning of the Central Discipline Commission whereby the respective Party state committees will send a report of the investigation conducted to the Discipline Commission.  The Discipline Commission will submit reports to the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee on the decisions it takes.




Some queries have arisen within the Party about the difference between the Central Control Commission which already exists and the Central Discipline Commission which has been recently constituted.  The Central Control Commission is a body under the Party Constitution. It is directly elected in the Party Congress. Its scope and jurisdiction pertains to hearing appeals against disciplinary action taken against Party members.  The Central Control Commission and the State Control Commissions entertain only appeals from Party members who have already been subjected to disciplinary action.   The Control Commission does not and cannot look into any complaints of wrong doing.  The Central Discipline Commission is specifically given the responsibility to look into the complaints of corrupt practices, wrong doings and violation of Communist norms. 


It should also be clarified that the Central Discipline Commission will not go into organisational issues.  Violations of organisational norms or organisational problems do not fall under the purview of the Discipline Commission.   They are to be tackled within the organisational structure through the principles of democratic centralism. 


Under the Rules, the Discipline Commission will deal with complaints from only Party members and Party committees. It will not entertain any complaints from non-Party members or anonymous ones. 


Party members are expected to exercise their right to lodge complaints imbued with a high sense of responsibility towards the Party. Any frivolous or motivated complaints will be disregarded and steps taken to discourage them. 


The Discipline Commission has been set-up to enable the Party to maintain the high standards of Communist norms and values.  It is an important step towards having an internal mechanism to check malpractices and rectify and improve the Party’s functioning.  This will increase confidence in the CPI(M) amongst the people, that the Party is vigilant in combating any wrong practices and that it is responsive to the people’s expectations.