In the USSR an administrative commission is a collegial body attached to the executive committee of a soviet on the raion or city level. Its function is to investigate administrative offenses and to determine whether administrative penalties are to be imposed on the offender or other directive measures are to be taken. Administrative commissions are set up by the appropriate soviet and are empowered for the same term of office as that soviet. A commission is chosen from the deputies of the soviet and representatives of public organizations. Its structure and working procedures are delineated by legislation in each Union republic (for the RSFSR, see Records of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, no. 13, 1962, art. 166). As a rule, an administrative commission is headed by one of the deputy chairmen who is either a member or secretary of the executive committee of the soviet. Where necessary, depending on the size of the raion or city, a soviet may set up several administrative commissions.
Administrative commissions investigate cases involving administrative offenses punishable under the provisions of laws enacted (1) by the higher bodies of state power or of state administration of the USSR, the Union republics, and autonomous republics or (2) under the provisions of regulations adopted by local soviets and their executive committees. In order for a case to be considered by an administrative commission, a protocol or act concerning an administrative violation or offense must be drawn up by a duly authorized public official or by members of society. In accordance with existing legislation, administrative commissions may apply a number of corrective measures—warnings, fines, or other penalties provided for under the law covering the particular form of administrative offense. In this connection, a warning may be used either as a penalty in and of itself or in place of the fine. As a rule, the administrative commission makes the imposition of the penalty publicly known where the offender works, goes to school, or resides. In certain cases, the administrative commission may submit materials relating to the offender to a comrades’ court or to public organizations where the offender works, goes to school, or resides, so that corrective measures may be taken by the public itself. If during the investigation of a case by an administrative commission it is determined that the violation constitutes a crime, the case is sent to the police or the procuracy.
Administrative commissions hear cases in open sessions, and the offender must be present. In accordance with existing legislation, the offender is guaranteed the opportunity to become acquainted with all the materials in the case as well as the right to submit explanations on the issues involved in the case and to present procedural motions. The case may be heard in the absence of the offender only when he has been notified in good time of the place and date of the commission’s session and fails to appear at the session without valid cause.
An administrative commission has the right to request the necessary documents from establishments, organizations, or offices and to call witnesses and representatives of governmental and public organizations in order to obtain necessary testimony on questions arising in the course of the investigation. In the investigation of cases concerning offenses committed by public officials in connection with their official duties at places of employment, in organizations, or in public institutions, the administrative commission hearing may be held at the place of employment, organization, or institution itself. The attorney of the given raion or city must always be informed of the date of the commission’s hearings.
The administrative commission arrives at a ruling by a simple majority vote. The ruling is signed by the chairman and members of the commission who have taken part in the investigation. A ruling that imposes a penalty must be delivered to the offender by registered mail within five days, and it may be appealed according to established procedures. The law specifies certain kinds of offenses for which administrative penalties in the form of fines may be imposed not by an administrative commission but by appropriate bodies of public administration.
V. N. ERSHOV