16. Constitutional Bodies

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Union Public Service Commission

  • The central recruiting agency in India
  • Independent constitutional body in the sense that it has been directly created by the Constitution
  • Articles 315 to 323 in Part XIV of the Constitution contain elaborate provisions regarding the composition, appointment and removal of members along with the independence, powers and functions of the UPSC

Chairman and members

  • The Chairman and other members of a Public Service Commission are appointed, in the case of the Union Commission or a Joint Commission, by the President, and in the case of a State Commission, by the Governor of the State:
  • As nearly as one-half of the members of every Public Service Commission shall be persons who have held office for at least ten year either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State
  • The chairman and members of the Commission hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

Removal

  • Chairman or any other member of a Public Service Commission shall only be removed from his office by order of the President on the ground of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court on reference being made to it by the President had held an inquiry and recommended removal.
  • Removed from office by the president only in the manner and on the grounds mentioned in the Constitution enjoy security of tenure
  • The entire expenses including the salaries, allowances and pensions of the chairman and members of the UPSC are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. Thus, they are not  subject to vote of Parliament.
  • The chairman of UPSC (on ceasing to hold office) is not eligible for further employment in the Government of India or a state.
  • A member of UPSC (on ceasing to hold office) is eligible for appointment as the chairman of UPSC or a State Public Service Commission (SPSC), but not for any other employment in the Government of India or a state.
In short, the functions are Functions of the UPSC are to conduct examinations for appointment to the services of the Union. Recruitment to services & posts under the Union through conduct of competitive examinations;Recruitment to services & posts under the Central Government by selection through Interviews;Advising on the suitability of officers for appointment on promotion as well as transfer-on- deputation;Advising the Government on all matter relating to methods of Recruitment to various services and posts;Disciplinary cases relating to different civil services: and

The chairman or a member or UPSC is (after having completed his first term) not eligible for reappointment to that office (i.e., not eligible for second term).

Miscellaneous matters, relating to grant to extra ordinary pensions, reimbursement of legal expenses etc.
  • The Supreme Court has held that if the government fails to consult UPSC in the matters (mentioned above), the aggrieved public servant has no remedy in a court.
  • In other words, the court held that any irregularity in consultation with the UPSC or acting without consultation does not invalidate the decision of the government.
  • Thus, the provision is directory and not mandatory. Similarly, the court held  that a selection by the UPSC does not confer any right to the post upon the candidate.
  • However, the government is to act fairly and without arbitrariness or malafides.
  • The additional functions relating to the services of the Union can be conferred on UPSC by the Parliament.
  • It can also place the personnel system of any authority, corporate  body or  public institution within the jurisdiction of the UPSC.
  • Hence the jurisdiction of UPSC can be extended by an act made by the Parliament.
  • The UPSC presents, annually, to the president a report on its performance.
  • The President places this report before both the Houses of Parliament, along with a memorandum explaining the cases where the advice of the Commission was not accepted and the reasons for such non-acceptance.
  • All such cases of non-acceptance must be approved by  the  Appointments  Committee  of  the Union cabinet.
  • An individual ministry or department has no power to reject the advice of the UPSC.

Limitations

The UPSC is not consulted on the following matters

  • While making reservations of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens.
  • While taking into consideration the claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in making appointments to services and posts.
  • With regard to the selections for chairmanship or membership of commissions or tribunals, posts of the highest diplomatic nature and a bulk of group C and group D services.
  • With regard to the selection for temporary or officiating appointment to a post if the person appointed is not likely to hold the post for more than a year.
  • The president can exclude posts, services and matters from the purview of the UPSC.
  • The Constitution states that the president, in respect to the all-India services and Central services and posts may make regulations specifying the matters in which, it shall not be necessary for UPSC to be consulted.
  • But all such regulations made by the president shall be laid before each House of Parliament for  at least 14 days.
  • The Parliament can amend or repeal them.
  • The Constitution visualises the UPSC to be the ?watch-dog of merit system‘ in India.
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