IAS Historical Background

Indianisation in case of the superior Civil Services has now became a great demand of the political movement compelling the British Indian Government to consider setting up of a Public Service Commission for recruitment to its services in the territory. The first Public Service Commission was established on October 1st, 1926. Also its limited advisory functions does not fulfill the people's aspirations and the continued stress on this aspect by the leaders of our freedom movement resulted into setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission under the Government of India Act 1935. As per the Act, for the very first time, provision was also made for the formation of Public Service Commissions at provincial level.

Constituent Assembly after India got independence, for the very first time realised the importance for providing a secure and autonomous status to Public Service Commissions at Federal as well as Provincial levels assuring a pure and non-biased recruitment to Civil Services as also for safety of the service interests. With the promulgation of the new Constitution for independent India on 26th January, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission was accorded a constitutional status as an independent entity and with a name Union Public Service Commission Constitutional Provisions.

The Union Public Service Commission established under Article 315 of the Constitution of India. The Commission comprises of a Chairman and 9 Members.

The terms and conditions of service of Chairman and Members of the Commission are administered by the Union Public Service Commission or say Members Regulations, 1969.

The Commission is serviced by a Secretariat headed by a Secretary with two Additional Secretaries, a number of Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and other supporting staff.

The Union Public Service Commission have been trusted with the duties stated below and role under the Constitution:

  • Recruitment to services & posts under the Union by organising competitive examinations
  • Recruitment to services & posts under the Central Government by Selection through Interviews
  • Focusing on the suitability of officers for appointment on promotion as well as transfer-on-deputation
  • Indulging Government on the matters corresponding to the ways of Recruitment to different services and posts
  • Disciplinary cases corresponding to civil services
  • other miscellaneous matters corresponding to grant of extra ordinary pensions, reimbursement of legal expenses and so on:

The vital role is being played by Commission in selecting persons to man the different Central Civil Services, Posts and the Services that are common to all the Union and States viz. All-India Services.

Recruitment To Various Services And Posts

To Duties & Role of the Commission

Under Article 320 of the Constitution of India, the Commission are, inter-alia, desired to be consulted on all matters corresponding to recruitment to civil services and posts.

Recruitment can be done by one of the 3 methods stated below:

  • Direct Recruitment
  • Promotion
  • Transfer

Direct Recruitment can be done by two methods quoted below:

  • Recruitment by competitive examination.
  • Recruitment by selection through interview.

Recruitment By Competitive Examination

Under the Constitution, one of the supreme function of the Commission is to organise and conduct examinations for appointment to Civil Services or Posts of the Union. In addition, competitive examinations are also held by the Commission under arrangements with the Ministry of Defence for entry to certain Defence Services, through the National Defence Academy, Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and the Officers Training Academy.

Generally the Commission organises many examinations every year on an all India basis. These comprise Examinations for the recruitment to services or posts in various areas namely Civil Services, Engineering, Medical and Forest Service, etc.

A brief overview of examinations regularly conduct by the Commission. Check out “Overview of Examination” under this Chapter.

Currently, the Union Public Service Commission organise their examinations at various destinations over 42 regular centers throughout the country.

Recruitment By Selection

Recruitment by Selection can be done by the methods stated below:

  • By Interview Only
  • By Recruitment Test Followed By Interview

By Interview Only

If the applicants are very large in number, it is not practicable to call for Interview all the applicants who fulfill minimum eligibility conditions prescribed. The Commission shortlist the candidates to be called for the interview on the basis of a pre-mentioned or pre-prepared criteria pertaining to the job. A huge number of recruitment cases is being taken cared by the Commission by the method (1) above:

By Written Test Followed By Interview-

There are two types of procedure followed:

  • An objective-type written and/or practical test to test the skill of the candidates followed by an Interview, the final selection being decided by Interview, baked by the performance of the candidates in the written test and/or practical test.
  • An objective-type written and/or practical test to analyse candidates further being called for an interview and the final or ultimate selection is being dependent completely on Interview.

Appointment By Promotion And Transfer On Deputation or Transfer.

As per the procedure decided by the Government in consultation with the Commission, Chairman or a Member of the Commission presides over the Departmental Promotion Committee Meetings to consider promotions from Group B to Group A and from one grade to another within group A, where promotion is to be made by Selection.


The Recruitment Rules for a number of posts provide for appointment by Transfer on Deputation including short term contract and Transfer. When the field of consideration consists of Central Government as well as State Government officers, prior consultation with the Commission is necessary for selection of an officer. When the file for consideration is made more broad-based and consists of not only Central or State Government officers but also officers from Non-Government Institutions, the selection has to be made in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission.

All India Services

The All India Services Act, 1951 and Rules and Regulations framed thereunder regulate the recruitment and conditions of service in respect of the All India Services viz. Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service.

When we talk about direct recruitment to the Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service Examination it is done through the Civil Services Examination and for the Indian Forest Service through the Indian Forest Service Examination held by the Commission.

The relevant Rules and Regulations say that 33% of the vacancies in the IAS/IPS/IFS should be filled by promotion from amongst the officers of the State Service in consultation with the Commission. The Selection Committee presided over by Chairman or a Member of the Commission consists of senior Government representatives of the Central Government and the State.

Mechanisation-Project Sampera

The Commission have recently undertaken a project called “SAMPERA” (Screening and Mechanised Processing of Examination and Recruitment Applications). A simplified single sheet common application form for all the examinations has been devised which will be scanned by using OMR/ICR technology. The implementation of this project will mainly help in huge speed scanning of data from forms eliminating manual entry. Other benefits will be accurate, reasonable and faster generation of Admit Cards, Attendance lists with photo replica and signature facsimile of each candidate and Error-free list of doubtful cases. The main aim of this project is to cope with the enhancing volume of applications through innovations and mechanised handling so as to reduce the processing time and send communications faster to minimised mistakes. The cases of impersonation will also be vanished and wasteful unnecessary expenditure will be lower down:

Recruitment Rules

In accordance with the provisions contained in Article 320 of the Constitution read with the provisions of Union Public Service Commission (Exemption from Consultation) Regulations 1958, Recruitment Rules of all Group ‘A’ and Group “B” posts in various Ministries/Departments of Government of India are required to be framed in Consultation with the Commission. Consultation with the Commission is also necessary for framing/amending Recruitment Rules for certain categories of posts under the Employees State Insurance Corporation, The Delhi Municipal Corporation, The New Delhi Municipal Council, Employees Provident Fund Organisation etc. Under the relevant Acts made by Parliament in pursuance of the provisions of Article 321

All proposals for framing/amending Recruitment Rules are examined keeping in view the cadre structure of the organisation and the circulars issued by the Govt. From time to time. After approval, the Commissions'advice in the matter is communicated to the Ministry/Department concerned. More than 14000 Recruitment Rules have been framed/amended so far.

Disciplinary Matters

  • To Duties & Role of the Commission: Under Article 320 − 3 of the Constitution the Commission needs to be consulted on the various penalties in disciplinary cases affecting a person lying under the Government of India in a Civil Capacity.
  • Extension Of Functions To Local Bodies Etc. Article 321 also boosts the power of Parliament to extend the functions of the Public Service Commission to any local authority, other entity corporate constituted by Law or public institutions.
  • Exemptions: To exempt some posts which for reasons of National Security or some other reasons may not be required to be referred to the Commission for their advice, the Union Public Service Commission i.e.. Exemption from Consultations Regulations were issued on September 1, 1958, under Article 320 − 3 − a & b of the Constitution. These Regulations are changed or say revised as and when required.
  • Recruitment & Conditions Of Service Etc. The Provisions mentioned in the Article 309 & Article 311 of the Constitution are also required to be read mandatory in conjunction with the provisions as contained in Article 320 of the Constitution.
  • Binding nature of the advice of the Commission.
  • A convention has been established by the Government of India, that in the following classes of the cases referred to the Commission, the recommendations made by them shall be accepted, save in exceptional circumstances. Quasi-judicial cases.
  • Selection for appointments of candidates. Appointing the candidates on a higher prior payment than that of a minimum pay of the posts. The claims of expenditure incurred by the Government servants in saving legal proceedings instituted against him in respect of acts done or purporting to be done in the fulfillment of his duty.

Annual Reports

The Commission must have a duty, under Article 323 of the Constitution to present annually to the President a Report as to the work done by the Commission and on receipt of such report, the president shall cause a copy there of together with the Memorandum elaborating, as respect the cases, if the advice of the Commission was not accepted, the reasons for such non-acceptance to be laid before each House of the Parliament. Back to General details.