The Historical Background
Indianisation of the superior civil services became one of the major demands of the political movement, compelling the British Indian government to consider the setting up of a Public Service Commission for recruitment of candidates to its services in the Union territory. The first Public Service Commission was set up on 1 October 1926. However, its
limited advisory functions failed to satisfy the people’s aspirations and the continued stress on this aspect by the leaders of our freedom movement resulted in the setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission under the Government of India Act, 1935. Under this Act, for the first time, provision was also made for the formation of Public Service Commissions at the provincial level. The Constituent Assembly, after independence, saw the need for giving a secure and autonomous status to Public Service Commissions, both at the Federal and Provincial levels, for ensuring unbiased recruitment to civil services, as also for the protection of service interests. With the promulgation of the new Constitution for independent India on 26 January 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission was accorded a constitutional status as an autonomous entity and given the title UPSC.
The Structure of UPSC
The Chairman and other members of the UPSC are appointed by the President and they hold office for a term of 6 years from the date of appointment, or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They are independent of the Executive and legislature in the same manner as the judges of the Supreme Court.
The UPSC has been established under Article 315 of the Constitution of India. The Commission consists of a Chairman and fixed number of members (generally 10) under Article 318. The terms and conditions of service of the Chairman and members of the Commission are governed by the UPSC (member) Regulations, 1969. It is generally 6 years. The Commission is serviced by a Secretariat headed by a Secretary with two Additional secretaries, a number of Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and other supporting staff. Under Article 317, the terms of UPSC’s Chairman and members is not determined by the executive department of the government of India, Therefore they cannot be removed from their positions easily.Only under the special charge of corruption and dishonesty can members be removed by the president under Article 317 (1). Under 317 (2), the member can be removed if proven insolvent or mentally and physically unfit, and only President can remove him or her.Article 322, states that salaries of Chairman and members of UPSC are charged to the consolidated fund of India, and are not subject to the approval of the Parliament. Functions of UPSC have enumerated under Article 320.
Important article related to UPSC
Article-315. Public Service Commissions for the Union and for the States.Article-316. Appointment and term of office of members.Article-317. Removal and suspension of a member of a Public Service Commission.Article-318. Power to make regulations as to conditions of service of members and staff of the Commission.Article-319. Prohibition as to the holding of offices by members of Commission on ceasing to be such members.Article-320. Functions of Public Service Commissions.Article-321. Power to extend functions of Public Service Commissions.Article-322. Expenses of Public Service Commissions.Article-323. Reports of Public Service Commissions.
Independent and Neutral UPSC
To keep UPSC independent, neutral and impartial, the constitution has taken two precautionary measures.
The government has to consult UPSC on employee appointments and other matters related to the employees If UPSC’s advice or recommendation to the government is not implemented, the government has to give an explanation to the parliament detailing the reasons for such non-acceptance. The government of India can appoint a few employees without UPSC’s recommendation, but that appointment will be temporary and for a period of 1 year only.
Power of UPSC
UPSC’s most important powers are advisory in nature and it can advise the President and Governor of state on the following six domains:
All matters relation to the appointment of civil servants.Evaluation of standards and efficiency of candidates for appointment, promotion or transfers of employees.All matters concerning discipline, behaviour and punctuality of employees of All India services.All affairs relating to demand and privileges to its employees under All India Civil Services and injured while on duty.On any payment or expense for any work of an employee of All India Services to be borne by the consolidated fund of India.Issues relating to discipline and punctuality in government functions are paying compensation to an employee, if there is a loss incurred by him due to negligence on part of the government, matters relating to punishment means of those employees and of all matters related to the interest of government employees working under the central government