Civil Services

Proposed changes in civil services allocation unconstitutional, executive has no role: P Chidambaram

Why is the central government planning another ‘disruption’, the Congress leader asked.

Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday said the proposed changes in the way cadres and services are allocated to those qualifying the civil services examination are unconstitutional, PTI reported. “Is the central government planning another disruption?” he asked in a blog post. “And if yes, why?”

Reports earlier this week said that the Department of Personnel and Training had asked cadre-controlling ministries if services and states can be allocated after the completion of the three-month foundation course, and if performance in the course can be made a parameter.

However, taking into account scores in the foundation course to allocate services will lead to subjectivity and is “undesirable”, Chidambaram said. The proposed changes would violate Article 320 of the Constitution, he said. Article 320 requires Union and State Public Service Commissions to “conduct examinations for appointments to the services of the Union and the services of the state, respectively”.

“The selection for appointment to the service, now done solely by the UPSC [Union Public Service Commission], will be affected by the FC [foundation course] marks given by the executive government,” he said. “Secondly, anonymity and objectivity will be greatly affected. Preference of the executive government and subjectivity will play a role in the allotment of service and cadre...There is a clear and present danger.”

The services examinations have their strengths and weaknesses and the examination process, including the allotment of service and states, was done on the recommendation of the UPSC, which is “believed to be totally objective”, Chidambaram said, adding that the executive has no role to play in this.

If the Centre’s proposal is accepted, civil servants will have to wait for three months before they are allotted the state and the service from options such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service.

At present, probationers are informed of the service designation and the state posting much before the foundation course in Mussoorie starts. Although the foundation course carries 400 marks, it is only considered to decide seniority within the batch, The Indian Express reported.

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