The makers of the Constitution realised that detailed provisions relating to every matter concerning the Public Services was not practiciable and therefore left the recruitment and conditions of service of the public servants of the Union and of the State to be regulated by Acts of the appropriate Legislatures.
Pending such legislation, however, these matters were to be regulated by Rules made by the president or by the Governor in connection with the services under the Union and the States respectively (Art. 309). The two matters which are substantively dealt with by our Constitution are
Type of Services
The constitution provides for three major categories of civil services in the country :
Union and state public service commissions
Art. 315 lays down that there shall be a Public Service Commission for the Union, and a Public Service Commission for each state or a joint public Service Commission for a group of states. Setting up a joint public service commission is subject to the state legislatures concerned passing a resolution to that effect and parliament approving that resolution. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) also may, with the approval of the President, agree to serve the needs of a state, if so requested by the Governor of the state.
The number of members of the Commission and their conditions of service is determined :
Appointment and term of office
The chairman and members of the Union or a Joint Commission are appointed by the President, and those of a State Commission by the Governor. Half of the members of a commission should be persons who have held office under the Government of India or a state for at least ten years (Art. 316).
The members hold office for six years. A member of the UPSC retires at the age of 65 years, and a member of a state or joint PSC at 62. But the office of a member may be terminated earlier also. A member may resign, in writing addressed to the President (for UPSC or Joint PSC) or the Governor (for State PSC) .
A member of the (UPSC) can be removed from office only by an order of the President on the ground of misbehaviour. The Constitution prescribes a procedure to prove such misbehaviour. According to this, the matter will be referred to the Supreme Court by the President and the court will conduct an enquiry in accordance with the procedure prescribed under Art. 145 of the Constitution and will submit a report to the President. Pending the enquiry by the Supreme Court the President may suspend the Member concerned.
The President is empowered to remove by an order a Member of the commission also on the following grounds:
All these provisions are intended to make the commission an independent and impartial body.
Independence of PSC
Several provisions have been made by the Constitution to safeguard the independence of the PSC from the executive.
Safeguards for civil servants
Though all government servants except certain high officials (the Supreme Court Judges, the Auditor General, the High Court Judges and the Chief Election Commissioner who cannot be removed from their offices except in manner laid down in Art. 124, 148, 218, 324, respectively and discussed in respective chapters) hold office during the pleasure of the President or the Governor (as the case may be), two procedural safeguards are provided for the security of tenure of ‘civil’ servants as distinguished from military personnel. They are :
Before proceeding against a civil servant the authority must :
While a person “dismissed” is ineligible for reemployment under the Government, no such disqualification attaches to a person ‘removed’. But two elements are common to ‘dismissed’ and ‘removal’:
Where no such penal consequence is involved, it would not constitute ‘dismissal’ or ‘removal’ e.g., where a Government servant is ‘compulsorily’ retired without any further penal consequence attached to such order.
No inquiry need be held and no opportunity need be given in three classes of cases :
Functions of PSC
Under Article 320, the Commissions have the following functions :
Consultant to President/Governor
The President/Governor is statutorily equired to consult the PSC :
Report of PSC
The UPSC has to present to the president every year a report on the work it has done. The President must have this report laid before each House of parliament, together with a memorandum explaining where the advice of the commission was not accepted and the reason for such non-acceptance (Art. 323).
A state PSC has to submit its report to the Governor. The legislature concerned here is the state legislature.
Roles of the political leadership and the permanent civil services related in the governance
The term ‘government’ properly applies to Ministers, while the role of permanent civil services is to administer according to the direction of the government—hence they represent the ‘administration’. Ministers are public servants whereas civil servants are government servants.
Political leadership has to formulate executive policies and civil servants must advise the Ministers properly in the formulation of policies and in making decisions.
Final decision is that of the Minister and the civil servant has to accept the decision and try to implement it honestly. Ministers have the right to exercise supervision and vigilance on the work of the civil servants. Bureaucracy provides continuity to administration when there is change of political masters. Civil servants should act impartially and within the framework of laws, rules and regulations without being influenced by political or extraneous considerations.
In order that the functions of the civil services are appreciated better there may be periodical seminars for civil servants to educate them on the role of the bureaucracy in a developing country like India; education of Ministers and legislators on the relative positions and roles of political leadership and the permanent civil services; informal education of the people through the media, explaining to them the rights of the people, duties of civil servants as well as their problems and difficulties.
There should no political interference in dayto-day administrative work, and no political victimisation of civil servants. Corruption among civil servants should be curbed.
Establishment of strong organisations of different civil services to discuss their problems, expose civil servants carrying favour with politicians and take up the cause of victimised honest and efficient civil servants; setting objective standards for evaluation of the performance of civil servants—all these will help.
Bureaucracy in the context of developmental planning
It is often said and rightly that the bureaucracy, the steel frame of India, held the country together after freedom in 1947.
The disorder that generally envelops any newly independent country was conspicuous by its absence in India because of the resilience of the bureaucracy. In fat the bureaucracy has done India proud in the manner in which it has discharged its functions.
Since the state plays a major role in the transformation of society, this situation has brought the political leadership into a face to face relationship with the bureaucracy.
This relationship has generated tension and conflict and is the direct cause of deteriorating standards of bureaucratic performance.
This is so because politicians do not worry about norms of legality and sanctity of procedures and rules.
As a result politicians are able to establish their pre-eminent position over functioning bureaucrats because of the patronage of promotions and transfers.
The word “committed” has developed a new connotation for the bureaucrat ever since the period of the emergency when the bureaucrat had to completely identify himself with the implementation of certain programmes like family planning.
There is another aspect to be considered. The bureaucracy is a powerful social group and bureaucrats have been known to make use of politicians to further their (bureaucrats) own interests.
Some of them have been able to get prized jobs and assignments. There is also a quid pro quo between public servants and businessmen.
These linkages leave their mark on the bureaucracy for better or for worse.
Controversy regarding committed bureaucracy
The talk of a ‘committed’ civil service has grown out of the feeling of dissatisfaction over the slow pace of India’s progress towards the professed goal of socialism. India’s civil service is being accused of acting as ‘a stumbling block’ to the implementation of the governments progressive policies.
However, this view seems to grow from a misunderstanding of the role of the bureaucracy in a parliamentary democracy. It is in one-party states like the Soviet Union that civil servants are ‘committed’ in the sense of actively and openly sharing the ideology of the ruling party.
In a parliamentary democracy like India with a number of political parties with different ideologies, where party complexion of the government is expected to change from time to time, it is not possible or desirable for the civil service to accept a ‘commitment’ to any particular party and its ideology. Basic to par liamentary democracy is the political neutrality of the civil services.
Civil servants should not have any ideological commitment in the discharge of their official duties.
They must implement honestly, diligently and expeditiously the programme of the government of the day.
However, civil servants should be committed to ‘national objectives’ as they are defined in the Directive Principles of State Policy laid down in the Constitution.
There should be professional commitment. If civil servants are sufficiently in this sense of the term, there is something wrong in existing modes of evaluating their work, the outmoded procedures, and the criteria for promotion.
Basic reform in these aspects will ensure the country a more efficient and dedicated bureaucracy.
The need is to make civil servants committed to being honest, efficient, public-spirited and more achievement oriented without being submitted to ‘politicisation’.
Is a strong bureaucracy a threat to democracy? Suggest a few safeguards against bureaucratic dominance.
In view of the growing powers of bureaucracy, some scholars have expressed the fear that it poses a serious threat to the existence of democracy. Lord Hewart has argued that the executive, including the civil service, has acquired powers which rightfully belong to the legislature and the judiciary, and estab-lished a new form of despotism.
This view is, however, not correct. While it is true that the powers of the civil servants have increased enormously, it would be certainly an exaggeration to say that this poses a threat to the process of democracy, which works under numerous internal checks and external controls.
Thus, its authority is controlled by written rules, regulations and rigid procedures.
It is also restrained by the judiciary which can annul their decisions, if they contravene any provision of law. The fact that members of civil services come from a variety of backgrounds act as an in-built check on the despotism of bureaucracy.
The safeguards against bureaucratic dominance are outlined below: It should be representative in its composition,of various social and economic classes in the community. It should be more democratic in the sense thatbureaucrats should compete openly with other bureaucrats for the exercise of power. There should be personal responsibility ratherthan anonymity, of the bureaucrat.
Besides setting up advisory bodies, the civilservices must try to attain an effective and continuous system of communication between the governors and the governed.
Exceptions to the Rule of Law