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State Public Service Commission (SPSC) | POLITY

Introduction | State Public Service Commission (SPSC)

  • Parallel to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at the Centre, there is a State Public Service Commission (SPSC) in a state.
  • The same set of Articles (i.e., 315 to 323 in Part XIV) of the Constitution also deal with the composition, appointment and removal of members, power and functions and independence of a SPSC.

Composition Of State Public Service Commission

  • A State Public Service Commission consists of a chairman and other members appointed by the governor of the state. The Constitution does not specify the strength of the Commission but has left the matter to the discretion of the Governor. Further, 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 governor to determine the conditions of service of the chairman and 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 62 years , whichever is earlier (in the case of UPSC, the age limit is 65 years). However, they can relinquish their offices at any time by addressing their resignation to the governor.
  • The governor can appoint one of the members of the SPSC as an acting chairman in the following two circumstances :
    • When the office of the chairman falls vacant; or
    • When the chairman is unable to perform his functions due to absence or some other reason.
  • The acting chairman functions till the person appointed as chairman enters on the duties of the office or till the chairman is able to resume his duties.

Removal Of The Chairman Or Members Of SPSC

  • Although the chairman and members of a SPSC are appointed by the governor, they can be removed only by the president (and not by the governor). The president can remove them on the same grounds and in the same manner as he can remove a chairman or a member of the UPSC. Thus, he can remove him under the following circumstances:
    • If he is adjudged an insolvent (i.e., has gone bankrupt); or
    • If he engages, during his term of office, in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
    • If he is, in the opinion of the president, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body .
  • In addition to these, the president can also remove the chairman or any other member of SPSC for misbehaviour. However, in this case, the president has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for an enquiry.

Functions of SPSC | State Public Service Commission (SPSC)

  • A SPSC performs all those functions in respect of the state services as the UPSC does in relation to the Central services:
  • It conducts examinations for appointments to the services of the state.
  • It is consulted on the following matters related to personnel management:
  • All matters relating to methods of recruitment to civil service and for civil posts.
    • The principles to be followed in making appointments to c services and posts and in making promotions and transfers fro one service to another.
    • The suitability of candidates for appointments to civil service and posts; for promotions and transfers from one service another; and appointments by transfer or deputation. The concerned departments make recommendations for promotion and request the SPSC to ratify them.
    • All disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the government of the state in a civil capacity including memorials petitions relating to such matters. These include:
      • Censure (severe disapproval)
      • Withholding of increments
      • Withholding of promotions
      • Recovery of pecuniary loss
      • Reduction to lower service or rank (demotion)
      • Compulsory retirement
      • Removal from service
      • Dismissal from service
    • Any claim for reimbursement of legal expenses incurred by civil servant in defending legal proceedings instituted again 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 the state and any question as to the amount of any such aware
    • Any other matter related to the personnel management.
    • The Supreme Court has held that if the government fails to consult the SPSC in these matters, the aggrieved public servant has no remedy in a court. In other words, the court held that any irregularity in consultation with the SPSC or acting without consultation does not invalidate the decision of the government.
  • Thus, the provision is directory and not mandatory. Similarly, the court held that a selection by the SPSC does not confer any right to the post upon the candidate. However, the government is to act fairly and without arbitrariness or malafides.

Limitations of SPSC | State Public Service Commission (SPSC)

  • The following matters are kept outside the functional jurisdiction of the SPSC. In other words, the SPSC is not consulted on the following matters:
    • While making reservations of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens.
    • While taking into consideration the claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in making appointments to services and posts.
  • The governor can exclude posts, services and matters from the purview of the SPSC.
  • The Constitution states that the governor, in respect to the state services and posts may make regulations specifying the matters in which, it shall not be necessary for SPSC to be consulted.
  • But all such regulations made by the governor shall be laid before each House of the state legislature for at least 14 days. The state legislature can amend or repeal them.

Joint State Public Service Commission

  • The Constitution makes a provision for the establishment of a Joint State Public Service Commission (JSPSC) for two or more states.
  • While the UPSC and the SPSC are created directly by the Constitution, a JSPSC can be created by an act of Parliament on the request of the state legislatures concerned. Thus, a JSPSC is a statutory and not a constitutional body. The two states of Punjab and Haryana had a JSPSC for a short period, after the creation of Haryana out of Punjab in 1966.
  • The chairman and members of a JSPSC are appointed by the president. They hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 62 years, whichever is earlier. They can be suspended or removed by the president. They can also resign from their offices at any time by submitting their resignation letters to the president.
  • The number of members of a JSPSC and their conditions of service are determined by the president. A JSPSC presents its annual performance report to each of the concerned state governors. Each governor places the report before the state legislature.
  • The UPSC can also serve the needs of a state on the request of the state governor and with the approval of the president. As provided by the Government of India Act of 1919, a Central Public Service Commission was set up in 1926 and entrusted with the task of recruiting civil servants. The Government of India Act of 1935 provided for the establishment of not only a Federal Public Service Commission but also a Provincial Public Service Commission and Joint Public Service Commission for two or more provinces.



Indian Polity

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