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Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in Constitutional Bodies |

UPSC – Chairman & Members, Powers and Functions

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is an independent recruiting agency of Union and performs other functions as provided by the constitution. The Article 315 to 323 of the Constitution deals with the appointment of UPSC members, powers and functions of the UPSC.

Appointment & Term of Office (Article 316)

  • The Chairman and other members of UPSC shall be appointed by President of India. The Constitution has not specified the strength of members of UPSC and left it on discretion of President. Generally, UPSC consist of 9 to 11 members.
  • Qualifications – In Article 316, it is mentioned that at least one half of the members of UPSC shall be the persons who have held office for at least 10 yrs either under Govt of India or Govt of a State. But not specified any qualifications for other half members of UPSC.
  • A member of UPSC shall hold office for a term of 6yrs from date on which he enters into the office or until he attains age of 65 yrs whichever is earlier. Provided that a member can resign any time to President and can be removed from his office.
  • The President can appoint one of members of UPSC as acting chairman if office of chairman becomes vacant or if chairman of UPSC is by reasons of absence or for any other unable to perform his duties.
  • Article 318 – The President is empowered to make regulations regarding number of members of UPSC and their conditions of service. Provided that conditions of service of a member of UPSC shall not be varied to his disadvantage after appointment.
  • Article 319 – The Chairman of UPSC is not eligible for further employment either under Govt of India or a State. The other members of UPSC are only eligible for office of Chairman of UPSC or Chairman of a State PSC but not for any other employment.

Removal and Suspension (Article 317)

  • The Chairman or any member of UPSC can be removed by President in following circumstances:-
    • If he adjudged an insolvent (i.e. bankrupt);
    • If he holds any office of profit or engages in any paid employment during term of office and outside the duties of his office;
    • If in opinion of President, he is unfit to continue in office by infirmity of mind or body;
  • Instead of above reasons, President can remove a member of UPSC from office on grounds of misbehaviour, but after found guilty in an inquiry made by Supreme Court.
  • During the course of inquiry, the President can suspend the member and decision of SC after inquiry shall be binding on the President.
  • Misbehaviour’ – if he a) is or becomes in any way concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by Govt of India or state, or b) participates in any way in the profit or in any benefit arising out from that contract.

Functions (Article 320)

  • To conduct examinations for appointments to services of the Union such as All India and Central Services. The Talent hunting (recruitment) is the most important function of the UPSC
  • To assist states if requested by two or more states, the UPSC assist them in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment for any services for which candidates possessing special qualifications are required.
  • The UPSC shall be consulted
    • On all matters relating to methods of recruitment of civil services and civil posts;
    • On the principles to be followed in making appointments to above posts and in promotions & transfers from one service to another and on suitability of candidates for such appointments, promotions and transfers.
    • On all disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the Government of India or the Government of a State in a civil capacity, including memorials or petitions in such matters;
    • On any claim for the award of a pension in respect of injuries sustained by a person while serving under the Government of India or the Government of a State.
    • On any claim for reimbursement of legal expenses incurred by a civil servant in defending legal proceedings against him in respects of act done in execution of his duties should be paid out of Consolidating Fund of India;

In all above maters under article 320, it is mandatory to consult UPSC but advice is not binding on govt. So the function of UPSC is to advice and not to decide.

  • The President may make regulations in respect to All India Service and other posts of Union by specifying matters in which, it shall not be necessary for a UPSC to be consulted. But such regulations shall be placed before Parliament for at least 14 days and parliament is empowered to change or repeal them.
  • Article 321 – The Parliament may by legislation provide for the exercise of additional functions in respect to services of Union and personnel system of local authority or any other body corporate under jurisdiction of UPSC.

Reports of the UPSC

  • Article 323 states that it shall be the duty of UPSC to present annual report to President on its performance. The President shall lay place such report before each house of the Parliament together with a memorandum of explaining where advice of UPSC is not accepted.
  • The Govt has to justify its action before parliament why advice is not accepted. So generally most of the recommendations of UPSC are accepted especially related to pattern and syllabus of examination.


  • Article 322 of the Constitution states that expenses of UPSC including salaries, allowances or pensions payable to members shall be charged on Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The Matters on which consultation of UPSC is not required are as follows:-
    • Regarding reservation of backward classes especially SC and ST.
    • In appointment of a) member of tribunals or commissions, b) post of highest diplomatic nature, c) bulk group C & D services, and d) temporary post not likely to continue for more than 1year.
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