- The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the central recruiting agency in India.
- It is an independent constitutional body.
- Articles 315 to 323 in Part XIV of the Constitution deal with the composition, appointment, and removal of members along with the independent powers and functions of the UPSC.
- The UPSC consists of a chairman and other members appointed by the president of India. The Constitution, without specifying the strength of the Commission has left the matter to the discretion of the president, who determines its composition.
- No qualifications are prescribed for the Commission’s membership except that one-half of the members of the Commission should be such persons who have held office for at least ten years either under the Government of India or under the government of a state.
- The Constitution also authorizes the president to determine the conditions of service of the chairman and other members of the Commission.
- The chairman and members of the Commission hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- The President can appoint one of the members of the UPSC as an acting chairman in the following two circumstances.
- (a) When the office of the chairman falls vacant; or
- (b) When the chairman is unable to perform his functions due to absence or some other reason.
The acting chairman functions till a person appointed as chairman enters the duties of the office or till the chairman can resume his duties.
The Chairman or any other member of UPSC may be removed if he/she:
- is adjudged an insolvent.
- engages during his/her term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his/her office.
- is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office because of infirmity of mind or body.
The Constitution has made the following provisions to safeguard and ensure the independent and impartial functioning of the UPSC:
- The chairman or a member of the UPSC can be removed from office by the president only in the manner and on the grounds mentioned in the Constitution. Therefore, they enjoy the security of tenure.
- The conditions of service of the chairman or a member, though determined by the president, cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
- The entire expenses including the salaries, allowances and pensions of the chairman and members of the UPSC are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. Thus, they are not subject to a vote of Parliament.
- The chairman of UPSC (on ceasing to hold office) is not eligible for further employment in the Government of India or a state.
- A member of UPSC (on ceasing to hold office) is eligible for appointment as the chairman of UPSC or a State Public Service Commission (SPSC), but not for any other employment in the Government of India or a state.
- The chairman or a member of UPSC is (after having completed his first term).
The UPSC performs the following functions:
- It conducts examinations for appointments to the all-India services, Central services and public services of the centrally administered territories.
- It assists the states (if requested by two or more states to do so) in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment for any services for which candidates possessing special qualifications are required.
- It serves all or any of the needs of a state at the request of the state governor and with the approval of the president of India.
- It is consulted on matters related to personnel management
Powers of UPSC
- UPSC is consulted on all disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the Government of India in a civil capacity including memorials or petitions relating to such matters.
- Any claim for reimbursement of legal expenses incurred by a civil servant in defending legal proceedings instituted against him in respect of acts done in the execution of his official duties.
- Any claim for the award of a pension in respect of injuries sustained by a person while serving under the Government of India and any question as to the amount of any such award.
- Matters of temporary appointments for a period exceeding one year and on regularisation of appointments.
- Matters related to grant of extension of service and re-employment of certain retired civil servants.
- Any other matter related to personnel management.
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