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Indian Polity / Constitutional Offices and Authorities

Role of Public Service Commission in India


    Articles 315 to 323 of Indian Constitution deal with Public Service Commissions (PSC). 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 the States. The Act of 1935 also provided for Joint Public Service Commissions for two or more than two States. The present Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the State Public Service Commissions (SPSC) came into force on 26th January, 1950 with Constitutional status.

    Composition of UPSC

    • UPSC is exclusively meant for Central and All India Services.

    • The composition of UPSC has one chairman and a number of other members. The number of members is decided by the President. The chairman and the members of the Union Public Service Commission are appointed by the President of India.

    • The tenure of UPSC chairman and the members is 6 years or till they reach 65 years of age, whichsoever comes earlier.

    • No specific qualification of UPSC members is mentioned in the Constitution of India. 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.

    • A member of UPSC can be 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 UPSC chairman and other members are on par with judges of the Supreme Court.

    Composition of SPSC

    • SPSC is exclusively meant for State Services.

    • The chairman and members of SPSC are appointed by the Governor of the State. The tenure of State PSC chairman and members is 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 of SPSC members 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.

    • A member of SPSC can be 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.

    • The salaries and allowances of the SPSC members are determined 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 for the members of Joint Public Service Commission under Indian 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 in India

    The functions of public service commissions include conducting examinations and interviews for appointing to the services of the Union, States and Union Territories. Through JPSC, if two or more states request for it, they can do a joint recruitment for any service that is required jointly by the concerned states.

    Other than doing these functions, 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.

    They are consulted in the following matters -


    • All the matters related to the methods of recruitment and the principles that need to be followed while appointing to the civil services and posts.

    • They are consulted while doing transfers and promotions of the civil servants.

    • All the disciplinary matters involving any person employed under the Government in a civil capacity..

    • Any claim of expenses that is incurred by a Government servant while defending legal proceedings constituted against him in respect of his official acts while discharging his duties.

    • Any claim of compensation against injuries caused to the Government servant while discharging his official duty.

    • For temporary appointments for a period of one to three years, re-appontment of retired employees and for extension of service of the current employees.

    • Any matter regarding personnel management that is referred to them by the President or the respective Governors.

    • While UPSC annually presents a report of work done by it to the President, the SPSCs present their report to the respective Governors.

    However, the Parliament of India can assign some additional functions to the UPSC regarding the services of the Union and a State Legislature can assign some additional functions to the SPSC regrding the services of the State.

    Independence Nature 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.