A COMPLETE OVERVIEW OF PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION IN INDIA
To uphold the wide range of aspirations of people with the administration of India, full fledged public service commission was needed. Its existence can be traced for the first time in India on October 1, 1926 when the Central Public Service Commission was established under the Government of India Act, 1919 and as per the recommendation of Lee Commission constituted in 1923. It granted a mere limited advisory function. It consisted of four Members in addition to the Chairman. It was later on renamed as the Federal Public Service Commission with the introduction of Government of India Act, 1935 on April 1, 1937.
It originated years back when the report of Select Committee replaced patronage based recruitment of civil servants with merit based system. Hence, the first civil service commission was setup in London. Indianisation of the police service continued to be very slow. From 1939 onwards due to lack of the capable European candidates, more Indians were appointed to the Indian Police. Imperial Forest Service was also constituted in 1867. Independent India constitution gave Federal Public Service Commission a constitutional status and it started to be known as the Union Public Service Commission. Later on, the Indian Forest Service was created in 1966 under All India Service Act 1951.
The Constitution requires that each State should have its own Public Service Commission, but if for administrative or financial reasons it is not possible, then, two or more States may have a Joint Public Service Commission. The composition of the State Commissions is governed by the same constitutional provisions as apply to the Union Commission. If chairman is found to lack integrity, transparency and is adjudged an insolvent; or engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body or involves in impartiality and misbehavior, he will be removed. The member of the Commission cannot be reappointed to that office on the expiry of his term of office [Art.316(3)], nor is he eligible for any other employment under the Central or the State Government. He can, however, be appointed as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission, or a State Public Service Commission [Art.319(c)]. A member of any commission can submit his resignation, at any time, to the President of India. A member can hold office for six years or until he attains, in case of the UPSC, the age of 65 years and in the case of State Commission, the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier. The expenses of the UPSC are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. It is basically responsible for the appointments and examination for All India Services of Central Services. It is the major recruiting agency. Additional functions and additional powers can also be conferred to them. As an advisory body to the government, it is to advise on the matters which are specially referred to it by the President. It can also advise over matters relating to regularization of appointments, granting of extension of service and re-employment of retired servants.
It is to assist them in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment for any service of the states. In Kesava v. State of Mysore, it was held by the Mysore High Court that since the Commission is an advisory or a consultative body to the Government and also because under Article 323 the Government has to explain the reasons for non- acceptance of the Commission’s advice, it is not open to the Commission to withhold any information wanted by the Government. In H.S. Bedi v. Patiala, SC held that any appointment by the govt. without consulting the commission would be invalid. Union Commission differs from State Commission in case of age of retirement, expenses charges like salary, allowance and pensions, submission of annual report, authority to determine strength and make regulations for conditions of service of members and staff, scope of further employment, resignation, authority to be advised etc.
Speaking about Independence of the commission, the provisions inscribed in constitution takes care of that. The evolved approach towards establishment of statutory body, Joint state Public Service Commission that is created by the act of parliament at the request of the concerned state legislatures was good one. It is to note that the U.P.S.C. can also serve the needs of a state on the request of the state governors and with the approval of the President.
In matters mentioned in Article 320, consultation is necessary but acceptance is discretionary. The commission is not consulted for the selection for appointment to a central service. Tenure of posts in central service and appointments which are likely to last only for a year is still excluded from commission’s purview. The proviso to Article 321, dilutes the consultative role of the commission. There is growing tendency of ministries to bypass the advice of commission. In order to improve it, focus can be made on making commission serve as think tank on personnel issues. More openness, accountability and decentralization within the commission can help it be in sync with changing times.