Public Services

The standard and efficiency of administration in any country depend ultimately on the calibre, training and integrity of the members of the public services. When the aim of a constitution is the establishment of a welfare state, it is evident that the functions of such a state will embrace a wide range of activities. The successful operation of these activities depends upon the availability of men of vision, ability, honesty and loyalty to man the administrative apparatus of the state. The concern of the framers of our Constitution to ensure this is clear from the provisions dealing with the Constitution and functions of the Public Service Commissions. We have also seen the Constitutional guarantee of equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. Not content with these, they went further and made certain special provisions dealing with the public services in India in order to make them feel contented and secure in their positions.

Article 309 empowers Parliament and the State legislatures to regulate the recruitment and the conditions of service of the public services of the Union and the States, respectively. Article 310 ensures that all persons who are members of the Defence Services or of the Civil Services of the Union or of All India Services, hold office during the pleasure of the President. Similarly, members of the State Services hold office during the pleasure of the Governor. Since the President or the Governor is only the Constitutional head of the State, the powers of the President or of the Governor here are those which are exercised by the Union Cabinet or the State Cabinet. Hence, the Cabinet wields the real power of controlling all the categories of services. This is in harmony with the democratic and responsible character of the Government, which ensures the responsibility of the executive to the legislature.

“To hold office during the pleasure of the President or the Governor”does not, however, mean that a member of the public service can be dismissed arbitrarily by the President orthe Governor. There are certain Constitutional safeguards against such an action. These are embodied in Article 311 in the following manner :

(1) No member of a Civil Service of the Union or an All India Service or a State Civil Service can be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed.

(2) No such member shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him.

There are, however, a few exceptions where the civil servants are not given all these facilities to defend themselves. These are : 

(i) Where a person is dismissed or removed or reduced in rank on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge.

(ii) Where, in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to give such an opportunity to the civil servants.

All India Services

Article 312 provides for the creation of All India Services. An All India Service is different from both the Central and the State Services. It has been pointed out earlier that under Article 309 the States are entitled to create their own Civil Services and lay down their own conditions of service just as the Centre is entitled to create its own services, make recruitment and lay down conditions of service. Thus, while Article 309 provides for separate jurisdiction for the Centre and the States, Article 312 takes away, to some extent, the autonomy of the States in this field by vesting in the Centre the authority to create All India Services. However, the framers of the Constitution were anxious to see that the vesting of such authority in the Centre should be with the consent of a substantial majority of the representatives of the States. That is why Article 312 provides that an All India Service can be created only if the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) declares, by resolution supported by not less than a two-thirds majority, that it is necessary in the national interest to create one or more such All India Services. Such a resolution should be considered as effective as an authority given by the States. When once such a resolution is passed, Parliament is competent to constitute such an All India Service and lay down details connected with it.

All India Services, by their very nature, are instruments of national consolidation and unity. They ensure the maintenance of common standards in certain vital fields of administration all over the country. They facilitate the existence of a hard core of officials in every State who, because of their membership in a service which falls within the jurisdiction of the Centre, feel more free and independent to act with a national outlook and keeping in view the national interest. The framers of the Constitution had originally no intention of creating such All India Services. That was why the draft Constitution did not make any provision in this regard. But the Partition of the country and the creation of Pakistan, and the extremely unsettled conditions that prevailed in the country in the early days of Independence convinced those in authority of the necessity of such services as powerful instruments for the preservation of national unity. The example of the Indian Civil Service provided the necessary experience for the creation of such All India Services.

Originally, besides the old Indian Civil Service, there were only two All India Services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service. Legislation was enacted in 1962 for the establishment of three more All India Services. These were:

(1) the Indian Engineering Service;

(2) the Indian Forest Service; and

(3) the Indian Medical and Health Service.

The establishment of an Indian Agriculture Service, an Indian Education Service and an Indian Judicial Service has been accepted in principle. The Union has, however, created a number of Central Services.

The Constitution also embodies certain provisions aimed at safeguarding the interests of the members of the Indian Civil Service.

Public Services And The Welfare State

Viewing the constitutional provisions as a whole, there can be no doubt that they are intended to build up a public service that would fit in with the changed character of the State in India. Of course, a civil servant must possess the traditional service virtues of integrity, loyalty and efficiency. His honesty should be above reproach, his loyalty unquestioned and his efficiency in conformity with recognised standards. The Public Services today are expected to have a growing passion for social service and self-identification with the people. Efficiency today means something more than an efficient performance of routine duties. It implies the active direction to the economic life of the people with the declared objective of ultimately eliminating poverty, disease and ignorance.

In this task, the cooperation of the Public Services (the permanent wing of the Government) with the Minister (the political wing) is of utmost importance. Control of the administration is no more the responsibility of the Civil Service. It is the responsibility of the representatives of the people. The services must devote themselves to the service of the people under the direction of the people’s representatives. It is the Minister’s business to determine the policy. Once a policy is determined, it is the business of the civil servant to carry it out with goodwill and devotion, whether he personally agrees with it or not.

At the same time, it is the traditional duty of the civil servant to make available to his political chief all the information and experience at his disposal, in order to help him to arrive at a right decision. The civil servant will not be able to do this, sometimes at the risk of displeasing his chief, unless he has security of tenure. The civil servant can, under the Constitution, give his advice without fear or favour in the interest of efficient administration.

One of the virtues of a Parliamentary Democracy is the ample opportunity that it affords for the harmonisation of two different and even conflicting parts in the same machinery. By nature and training, the permanent civil servant is conservative, narrow in outlook and is often apt to exaggerate the importance of technicalities. He looks at things with the eye of an expert and displays a bureaucratic attitude. A politician, on the other hand, by nature and experience, is well versed in human affairs. His vision is broad, his  attitude compromising and ideas progressive. He has got the qualities of initiative and judgement. His broad outlook and strong common sense, born out of a long experience of human affairs, bring about a healthy and constructive outlook on all problems. A combination of these two—the administrator and the politician, the civil servant and the Minister—should produce wholesome results.

While the permanent services maintain the continuity of the administrative process, the Minister provides the basis of its popular character. The Minister serves as a link between the legislature and the administration and ensures the coordination of the two to the best advantage of the country. It is in the interest of efficient administration that these two wings of the Government should maintain their separate identity. The civil servant should maintain his rigid neutrality in politics and the Minister should scrupulously subscribe to this principle and appreciate the attitude of the civil servant. Then only, the permanent services can become a real link between successive Ministers and provide stability and continuity to administration.  

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