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. The functions of the Commission under Article 320 of the Constitution are:
- Conduct examinations for appointment to the services of the Union.
- Direct recruitment by selection through interviews.
- Appointment of officers on promotion / deputation / absorption.
- Framing and amendment of Recruitment Rules for various services and posts under the Government.
- Disciplinary cases relating to different Civil Services.
- Advising the Government on any matter referred to the Commission by the President of India.
It shall also be the duty of the Union Public Service Commission, if requested by any two or more States so to do, to assist those States in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment for any services for which candidates possessing special qualifications are required.
The Union Public Service Commission or the State Public Service Commission, as the case may be, shall be consulted—
- On all matters relating to methods of recruitment to civil services and for civil posts;
- On the principles to be followed in making appointments to civil services and posts and in making promotions and transfers from one service to another and on the suitability of candidates for such appointments, promotions or transfers;
- On all disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the Government of India or the Government of a State in a civil capacity, including memorials or petitions relating to such matters;
- On any claim by or in respect of a person who is serving or has served under the Government of India or the Government of a State or under the Crown in India or under the Government of an Indian State, in a civil capacity, that any costs incurred by him in defending legal proceedings instituted against him in respect of acts done or purporting to be done in the execution of his duty should be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of India, or, as the case may be, out of the Consolidated Fund of the State;
- On any claim for the award of a pension in respect of injuries sustained by a person while serving under the Government of India or the Government of a State or under the Crown in India or under the Government of an Indian State, in a civil capacity, and any question as to the amount of any such award.
And it shall be the duty of a Public Service Commission to advise on any matter so referred to them and on any other matter which the President, or, as the case may be, the Governor of the State, may refer to them.
All regulations made by the President or the Governor of a State shall be laid for not less than fourteen days before each House of Parliament or the House or each House of the Legislature of the State, as the case may be, as soon as possible after they are made, and shall be subject to such modifications, whether by way of repeal or amendment, as both Houses of Parliament or the House or both Houses of the Legislature of the State may make during the session in which they are so laid.
Although the commission is granted its charter by Constitution itself, its scope is limited in following matters:
- It cannot be consulted while making reservations of appointments to services or posts in favour of backward classes (SC-ST and others).
- It shall not be consulted for selection for chairmanships or memberships of commissions or tribunals, and posts of highest diplomatic nature.
- Almost all of Group C and Group D central services are fulfilled by the Staff Selection Commission, and not UPSC.
- It is not consulted in the case of temporary selection or officiating appointment to a post if the person appointed is not likely to hold the post for more than one year.
- As per Art 320, the president can also regulate or limit jurisdiction of UPSC w.r.t. any post, service or other matter relating to Central and All India Services. But all such regulations by the president shall be presented before Parliament within 14 days, and the parliament may amend or repeal them.
- The Supreme Court has too held that if the government fails to consult UPSC in the matters ascribed under Art 320, does not invalidate the decision of the government. Thus rendering this provision of constitution as only advisory and not binding. Nonetheless, the government still remains answerable to parliament for deviating from the advice of the commission; thereby checking indiscriminate use of this provision by the government.
- With the formation of Department of Personnel and Training, UPSC is no longer concerned with the classification of services, pay and service conditions, cadre management, training etc, limiting its role to that of a recruiting agency. The formation of Central Vigilance Commission in 1964 also affected role of UPSC in disciplinary matters.
Role of UPSC
The Union Public Service Commission performs the following functions:
- It recruits candidates to services & posts through competitive examinations.
- It advises on the suitability of officers for appointment on promotion as well as transfer-on-deputation.
- It advises the Government on all matters relating to methods of Recruitment to various services and posts.
- It handles disciplinary cases relating to different civil services.
- It looks into miscellaneous matters relating to grant of extra ordinary pensions, reimbursement of legal expenses etc.