Indianisation of the superior Civil Services became one of the major demands of the political movement compelling the British Indian Government to consider setting up of a Public Service Commission for recruitment to its services in the territory. The first Public Service Commission was set up on October 1st, 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 Federal and Provincial levels for ensuring unbiased recruitment to Civil Services as also for protection of service interests. With the promulgation of the new Constitution for independent India on 26th January, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission was accorded a constitutional status as an autonomous entity and given the title – Union Public Service Commission.
The UPSC can also serve the needs of a State on the request of the State Governor and with the approval of the President of India. The UPSC is the central recruiting agency in India. It is an independent Constitutional body in the sense that it is directly created by the Constitution of India. The members of the UPSC and the SPSCs are to be appointed by the President and the Governor respectively.
The Union Public Service Commission has been established under Article 315 of the Constitution of India. The Commission consists of a Chairman and ten Members.
The terms and conditions of service of Chairman and Members of the Commission are governed by the Union Public Service Commission (Members) Regulations, 1969.
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. The Union Public Service Commission has been entrusted with the following duties and role under the Constitution:
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 matters relating to methods of recruitment to various services and posts;
Disciplinary cases relating to different civil services; and
Miscellaneous matters relating to grant of extra ordinary pensions, reimbursement of legal expenses etc. The major role played by the Commission is to select persons to man the various Central Civil Services and Posts and the Services common to the Union and States (viz. All-India Services).
Recruitment to Various Services And Posts
Under Article 320 of the Constitution of India, the Commission is, inter-alia, required to be consulted on all matters relating to recruitment to civil services and posts.
Recruitment is made by one of the following three methods:
Direct recruitment is conducted broadly under the following two methods:
Recruitment by competitive examination.
Recruitment by selection through interview.
Recruitment by competitive examination
Under the Constitution, one of the functions of the Commission is to conduct examinations for appointment to Civil Services/Posts of the Union. In addition, competitive examinations are also held by the Commission under arrangements with the Ministry of Defence for entry to certain Defence Services, through the National Defence Academy, Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and the Officers Training Academy.
The Commission usually conducts over a dozen examinations every year on an all India basis. These include Examinations for recruitment to services/posts in various fields, such as Civil Services, Engineering, Medical and Forest Service, etc.
For an overview of examinations regularly held by the Commission. See “Overview of Examination” under this Chapter. At present, the Union Public Service Commission conduct the examinations at numerous venues spread over 42 regular centres throughout the country.
Recruitment by Selection
Recruitment by Selection is made by the following methods:
By Interview Only
By Recruitment Test Followed By Interview
By Interview only
Where the number of applicants is very large, it is not practicable to call for Interview all the applicants who fulfill the minimum eligibility conditions prescribed. The Commission, therefore, shortlist the candidates to be called for the interview on the basis of certain prE-determined criteria related to the job. A large number of recruitment cases is handled by the Commission by this method.
By written test followed by Interview
In this category, there are two types of procedures followed:
An objective-type written and/or practical test to test the skill of the candidates followed by Interview, the final selection being decided by Interview, aided by the performance of the candidates in the written test and/or practical test.
An objective type written and/or practical test to screen candidates to be called for interview, the final selection being decided by Interview only.
Appointment by promotion and transfer on deputation/transfer
In accordance with the procedure decided by the Government, in consultation with the Commission, Chairman or a Member of the Commission presides over the Departmental Promotion Committee Meetings to consider promotions from Group B to Group A and from one grade to another within group A, where promotion is to be made by Selection.
The Recruitment Rules for a number of posts provide for appointment by Transfer on Deputation (including short term contract) and Transfer. When the field of consideration consists of Central Government as well as State Government officers, prior consultation with the Commission is necessary for selection of an officer. When the file for consideration is made more broad-based and consists of not only Central/State Government officers but also officers from Non-Government Institutions, the selection has to be made in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission.
All India Services
The All India Services Act, 1951 and Rules and Regulations framed thereunder regulate the recruitment and conditions of service in respect of the All India Services viz. Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service.
As far as direct recruitment to the Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service Examination is concerned, it is done through the Civil Services Examination and for the Indian Forest Service through the Indian Forest Service Examination held by the Commission.
The relevant Rules and Regulations provide that 33% of the vacancies in the IAS/IPS/IFS should be filled by promotion from amongst the officers of the State Service in consultation with the Commission. The Selection Committee presided over by Chairman/Member of the Commission consists of senior Government representatives of the Central Government and the State.
Mechanisation – Project Sampera
The Commission has recently undertaken a project called “SAMPERA” (Screening And Mechanised Processing of Examination and Recruitment Applications). A simplified single sheet common application form for all the examinations has been devised which will be scanned by using OMR/ICR technology. The implementation of this project will mainly help in high speed scanning of data from forms eliminating manual entry. Other benefits will be accurate and faster generation of Admit Cards, Attendance lists with photo replica and signature facsimile of each candidate, and error-free list of doubtful cases. The main aim of this project is to cope with the increasing volume of applications through innovations and mechanised handling so as to reduce the processing time and send communications faster to minimised errors. The cases of impersonation/malpractices will also be eliminated and wasteful expenditure will be reduced.
In accordance with the provisions contained in Article 320 of the Constitution read with the provisions of Union Public Service Commission (Exemption from Consultation) Regulations 1958, Recruitment Rules of all Group “A’ and Group “B” posts in various Ministries/Departments of Government of India are required to be framed in consultation with the Commission. Consultation with the Commission is also necessary for framing/amending Recruitment Rules for certain categories of posts under the Employees State Insurance Corporation, The Delhi Municipal Corporation, The New Delhi Municipal Council, Employees Provident Fund Organisation etc. under the relevant Acts made by Parliament in pursuance of the provisions of Article 321.
All proposals for framing/amending Recruitment Rules are examined keeping in view the cadre structure of the organisation and the circulars issued by the Government from time to time. After approval, the Commissions’ advice in the matter is communicated to the Ministry/Department concerned. More than 14000 Recruitment Rules have been framed/amended so far.
Under Article 320(3) of the Constitution the Commission is required to be consulted on the quantum of penalties in disciplinary cases affecting a person serving under the Government of India in a civil capacity.
Extension of Functions to Local Bodies
Article 321 also empowers the Parliament to extend the functions of the Public Service Commission to any local authority or other body corporate constituted by Law or by any public institutions.
In order to exempt some posts which for reasons of National Security or some other reasons may not be required to be referred to the Commission for their advice, the Union Public Service Commission (Exemption from Consultations) Regulations were issued on September 1, 1958, under Article 320(3)(a) and (b) of the Constitution. These Regulations are amended or revised as and when the need arises.
Recruitment & Conditions of Service
The Provisions as contained in Article 309 & Article 311 of the Constitution are also required to be read in conjunction with the provisions as contained in Article 320 of the Constitution.
Binding Nature of the Advice of the Commission
A convention has been established by the Government of India, that in the following classes of the cases referred to the Commission, the recommendations made by them shall be accepted, save in exceptional circumstances.
Selection for appointments of candidates.
Appointment of a candidate on a higher initial pay than that of a minimum pay of the posts.
Claims of expenditure incurred by the Government servants in defending legal proceedings instituted against him in respect of acts done or purporting to be done in the execution of his duty.
The Commission have a duty, under Article 323 of the Constitution to present annually to the President a Report as to the work done by the Commission and on receipt of such report, the president shall cause a copy there of together with the Memorandum explaining, as respect the cases, if any, where the advice of the Commission was not accepted, the reasons for such non-acceptance to be laid before each House of the Parliament.