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Indian Polity / Constitutional Offices and Authorities

Public Service Commissions in India


    Articles 315 to 323 deal with Public Service Commissions. In India we have 3 types of services namely, the All India Services, the Central Services and the State Services. For recruitment and appointment into these services, there are separate recruiting bodies or agencies having Constitutional status. Central Public Service Commission was created in 1926 under the Government of India Act, 1919. Eventually under the Government of India Act, 1935, a Federal Public Service Commission was established for the Union and Provincial Public Service Commissions were established for States. The Act of 1935 also provided for Joint Public Service Commissions for two or more than two States. Present Public Service Commissions both at Central and State levels came into force on 26th January, 1950 with Constitutional status.

    Union Public Service Commission ( UPSC )

    • It is exclusively for Central and All India Services.
    • It shall consist of one chairman and a number of other members. The number of members is decided by the President of India. All are being appointed by the President.
    • They are appointed for a tenure of 6 years or till they reach 65 years of age, whichsoever comes earlier.
    • There is no specific qualification is mentioned in the Constitution. However, there is a condition that half of the members must be drawn from Central or State administrative services. For the remaining half, Central Government may use its own discretion.
    • Their resignations are to be addressed to the President.
    • All are removed by the President of India on the grounds of incapacity and misbehavior after an enquiry that is made by a judge of the Supreme Court.
    • Their salary is fixed by the Parliament. The salary of the chairman and other members are on par with judges of the Supreme Court.

    State Public Service Commission ( SPSC )

    • It is exclusively for State Services.
    • Chairman and other members are being appointed by the Governor for the tenure of 6 years or till they reach 62 years of age, whichsoever comes earlier. The retirement age of SPSC members was increased from 60 to 62 by 41st Amendment, 1976.
    • There is no particular qualification mentioned in the Constitution. However, there is a condition that half of the members must be drawn from Central or State administrative services. For the remaining half, State Government may use its own discretion.
    • Their resignations are addressed to the Governor of the State.
    • All are removed by the President of India on the grounds of incapacity and misbehavior after an enquiry that is made by a judge of the Supreme Court. However, Governor can suspend the members of SPSC.
    • Their salary is being fixed by the State Legislature. Their salary differs from State to State.

    Joint Public Service Commission ( JPSC )

    • A JPSC can be established by the Parliament by a law for 2 or more than 2 States. Right now we do not have any JPSCs.
    • Chairman and other members are being appointed by the President for a tenure of 6 years or till they reach 62 years of age, whichsoever comes earlier.
    • There is no particular qualification mentioned in the Constitution. However, there is a condition that half of the members must be drawn from Central or State administrative services. For the remaining half, Central Government may use its own discretion.
    • Their salary is fixed by the Parliament but charged on Consolidated Fund of States according to the proportion fixed by the President.

    Functions of Public Service Commission

    Public Service Commissions are basically advisory bodies on service matters like Recruitment, Appointment, Promotion, Transfers, Disciplinary actions and Retirement. They are not consulted on reservations.

    Independence of Public Service Commission

    Constitution of India provides certain Constitutional protections and conditions to ensure the impartiality and independence of Public Service Commissions.

    • They have fixed tenure that is 6 years.
    • The salaries and pensions are being fixed by the Parliament and are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India in case of UPSC and State Consolidated Fund in case of SPSC, which cannot be reduced to their disadvantage.
    • They are being removed by the President after an enquiry made by a judge of the Supreme Court on specific grounds as mentioned in the Constitution.
    • The chairman of UPSC after retirement, is ineligible for subsequent appointments and postings anywhere in India, whereas members of the UPSC, SPSC and JPSC are eligible for higher positions in Public Service Commissions only and not in other offices.