This paper will explains the history of public service commission and its role in the society and the importance of the commission.
Civil Servants for the East India Company used to be nominated by the Directors of the Company and thereafter trained at Hailey bury College in London and then sent to India. Following Lord Macaulay’s Report of the Select Committee of British Parliament, the concept of a merit based modern Civil Service in India was introduced in 1854. The Report recommended that patronage based system of East India Company should be replaced by a permanent Civil Service based on a merit based system with entry through competitive examinations. For this purpose, a Civil Service Commission was setup in 1854 in London and competitive examinations were started in 1855. Initially, the examinations for Indian Civil Service were conducted only in London. Maximum age was 23 years and minimum age was 18 years.
The syllabus was designed such that European Classics had a predominant share of marks. All this made it difficult for Indian candidates. Nevertheless, in 1864, the first Indian, Shri Satyendranath Tagore brother of Shri Rabindaranath Tagore succeeded. Three years later 4 other Indians succeeded. “Throughout the next 50 years, Indians petitioned for simultaneous examinations to be held in India without success because the British Government did not want many Indians to succeed and enter the ICS. It was only after the First World War and the Montagu Chelmsford reforms that this was agreed to. From 1922 onwards the Indian Civil Service Examination began to be held in India also, first in Allahabad and later in Delhi with the setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission. The Examination in London continued to be conducted by the Civil Service Commission.
The origin of the Public Service Commission in India is found in the First Dispatch of the Government of India on the Indian Constitutional Reforms on the 5th March, 1919 which referred to the need for setting up some permanent office charged with the regulation of service matters. This concept of a body intended to be charged primarily with the regulation of service matters, found a somewhat more practical shape in the Government of India Act, 1919. Section 96(C) of the Act provided for the establishment in India of a Public Service Commission which should discharge, in regard to recruitment and control of the Public Services in India, such functions as may be assigned thereto by rules made by the Secretary of State in Council. After passing of the Government of India Act, 1919, in spite of a prolonged correspondence among various levels on the functions and machinery of the body to be set up, no decision was taken on setting up of the body.
The subject was then referred to the Royal Commission on the Superior Civil Services in India (also known as Lee Commission). The Lee Commission, in their report in the year 1924, recommended that the statutory Public Service Commission contemplated by the Government of India Act, 1919 should be established without delay. Subsequent to the provisions of Section 96(C) of the Government of India Act,1919 and the strong recommendations made by the Lee Commission in 1924 for the early establishment of a Public Service Commission, it was on October 1, 1926 that the Public Service Commission was set up in India for the first time. It consisted of four Members in addition to the Chairman.
Sir Ross Barker, a member of the Home Civil Service of the United Kingdom was the first Chairman of the Commission. The functions of the Public Service Commission were not laid down in the Government of India Act, 1919, but were regulated by the Public Service Commission (Functions) Rules, 1926 framed under sub-section (2) of Section 96(C) of the Government of India Act, 1919. Further, the Government of India Act, 1935 envisaged a Public Service Commission for the Federation and a Provincial Public Service Commission for each Province or group of Provinces. Therefore, in terms of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935 and with its coming into effect on 1st April, 1937, the Public Service Commission became the Federal Public Service Commission.
With the inauguration of the Constitution of India in January 26, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission came to be known as the Union Public Service Commission, and the Chairman and Members of the Federal Public Service Commission became Chairman and Members of the Union Public Service Commission by virtue of Clause (1) of Article 378 of the Constitution. The Government of India Act, 1935, gave India a larger measure of autonomy and increased the proportion of Indians in higher Civil services. As a result of this, the Public Service Commission also advanced in status and prestige. Its constitution and functions were laid down in the Act itself. This ensured the Commission a certain degree of independence from the Executive.
The number of Indian members was increased. The number of official members was fixed at one half of its total strength and the term of office of the members was fixed at six years. Although the determination of the conditions of service of the member was still left with the Governor-General, yet the position of the Federal Public Service Commission, as it now began to be called, was far superior to that of its predecessor. Another advance made under the 1935 Act was the establishment of Public Service Commissions in each Province on exactly the same principles on which the Federal Commission had been constituted.
Thus, for the first time, all civil posts in the country were brought under the purview of the Public Service Commissions, except, of course, those which were still tilled in by the Secretary of State in England But the Act imposed one serious limitation upon the powers of the Commission, namely, that the Governor-General of the Governor, as the case might be, could take a post or a category of posts purview of the Public Service Commission. This provision, which has been persisting on to this day, is a serious flaw in the body structure of our Service Commissions which has hampered the growth of normal healthy relations between them and the Government and has crippled their full development as autonomous, but integral, part of the public personnel administrative machinery of the country.”
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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