This article is written by Ayushi Jain, a Fourth year B.A. LLB (Hons.) Student of Ideal Institute of Management and Technology (Affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University), Delhi.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION: AN OVERVIEW
The origin of the Public Service Commission in India is found in the First Dispatch of the Government of India on The Indian Constitutional Reforms on 5th March 1919 which referred to the need of setting up some permanent office charged with the regulation of the service matters. This concept of the body intended to be charged primarily with the regulation of service matters, found a somewhat more practical shape in Government of India Act, 1919.
ENAMINATES FROM CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
The Constitution of India provides for the establishment of Public Service Commission for the Union and for each State [Art.315(1)]. However, it is expressly provided that two or more states may agree to have the common Public Service Commission [Art.315(2)]. But if Union Public Service Commission agree to act for a State, prior request by the Governor of the State and approval of the same by the President is the pre-condition.
APPOINTMENT OF THE MEMBERS OF PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISION
According to Art.316(1) of the Constitution of India, The Chairman and The Members of The Union Public Service Commission or a Joint Commission are appointed by the President and in the case of State Commission they will be appointed by the Governor of the State.
TENURE OF THE MEMBERS
A member of public service commission holds an office for a period of 6 years unless he attains the age of 65 years in case of union public service commission and 62 in case of state commission or a joint of two or more states, whichever is earlier. Which implies that if he attains his retirement age, he has to retire even if he is left with his tenure period i.e. 6 years. A member may also resign by himself from his office.
IMPEACHMENT OF THE MEMBERS
A member may be removed from his office by the Presidential order on the ground of misbehavior, but if the reference is made by the President then the Supreme Court, after making sufficient enquiry, report to the President that he should be removed.
The chairman or any other member of the Public Service Commission if they are in any way concerned or interested in any contract, agreement made by or on behalf of Government of India or State Government or participates in any profit which is resulting from such contract or agreement, then he will be guilty of misbehavior[Art.317(1)].
They may also be removed by the President without any reference to the Supreme Court if any such person
Is adjudged an insolvent,
Accepts any other paid employment during the term of office, or
In the opinion of the president unfit to continue in office by the reason of infirmity of mind or body.
The members of the union and the state public service commission are debarred from re-appointment after the expiry of their tenure period. They are also ineligible for any other employment under the central and the state governments. This provision is necessary in order to ensure impartiality [Art.319].
Ram Kumar Kashyap v. Union of India AIR 2010 SC 1151
The chairman and 8 members of the Haryana Public Service Commission were suspended by the Governor. A reference was made under Article 317(1) of the Constitution by the President of India to the Supreme Court.
The petitioner filed a writ for quashing the reference and the Governor’s order as they were not given the fair opportunity of hearing violating the principles of natural justice. The court held that the members of P.S.C. are not entitled to an opportunity to be heard.
However, the order of suspension is also passed under Art.317(1) after the president has referred the matter to the supreme court. The reason behind passing the order of suspension by the governor even before the reference was decided by the supreme court is to maintain impartiality and honest working of the PSC. The suspension was valid.
FUNCTIONS OF PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
Art.320 of the Constitution of India provides for the functions of the Union and State Public Service Commission. They are:
-Conduct examinations for the appointment purpose;
-Recruitment shall be made by the direct selection in interviews;
-Appointment of officers;
-Framing and amending various recruitment rules in regard to various services and post under the Government;
-Taking disciplinary cases relating to civil services;
-Advising the Government on any matter which is referred to the commission by the President of India.
In the case of D’ Silva v. Union of India, AIR 1962 SC 1130
It should be noted that the functions of Public Service Commission are only advisory in nature and the Constitution of India has no provision which makes it obligatory on the Government that it is supposed to act on the advise on the commission in any case.
DUTY OF PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
In all the following matters it shall be the duty of the Commission to advise:
-on matters relating to methods of recruitment to civil posts;
-on the principles which are to be followed when making appointment;
-on disciplinary matters affecting a person who is in service under the Central or State Government;
-on any claim which is made by the person in service for the cost incurred by him in defending the legal proceedings initiated against him for the acts done or purporting to be done while executing his duty;
-on any claim for compensation in respect of any injury caused to him while executing his duty.
However, the President and the Governor may make regulation in respect of any matter, in which either in general or in particular circumstance the commission may not be consulted [Art.203(3)].
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION: AN OVERVIEW