New Delhi, May 23 : Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today termed as unconstitutional the proposed changes in the cadre allocation of civil services and wondered whether the Centre was planning another “disruption” by bringing about such changes in the UPSC rules.
He said the government’s proposal to take into account the marks secured in the foundation course for allocation of service and cadre would lead to subjectivity and termed it as “undesirable”.
“Is the central government planning another disruption? And if yes, why?,” he asked in a blog post.
“Firstly, the proposed change appears to be unconstitutional, as it is violative of Article 320. The selection for ‘appointment’ to the service, now done solely by the UPSC, will be affected by the FC marks given by the executive government. I doubt if the proposed change can be implemented without amending Article 320,” 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. Neither factor is desirable. There is a clear and present danger,” he claimed.
The former home minister said the All India Services (IAS, IFS, IPS and IFoS) had their strengths and weaknesses and the examination, interview, selection, allotment of service and allotment of cadre were done on the recommendation of the UPSC which was “believed to be totally objective”.
He said there was anonymity in the written exam and objectivity as the examination and the interview were conducted by the UPSC, with the Executive having absolutely no role to play.
This, he said, was consistent with Article 320 of the Constitution which mandate that “it shall be the duty of the Union and State Public Service Commissions to conduct examinations for appointments to the services of the Union and the services of the state respectively”.
Chidambaram said there were no serious complaints about examinations or selection or allotment of service and cadre and a few and rare mistakes had been corrected by the courts.
He said the candidates’ marks in the foundation course (FC) might affect their inter-se ranking allotted to a particular service or cadre.
He said under the change proposed by the PMO, FC marks would be taken into account for allocation of service and cadre and the 300 marks had potential to alter the allocation, currently based on the 2025 marks.
“Who conducts the FC? Who sets the question paper(s) for the examination at the end of the FC? Who marks the examination paper(s) of the candidates in the FC? It is officers appointed by the Executive government and answerable to the Executive government. The UPSC has absolutely no role to play,” he said.
There has been a row over the proposed changes. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had urged students to “rise”, alleging that their future was at risk as the prime minister wanted to appoint officers chosen by the RSS by “manipulating” the merit list in civil service examinations.
Gandhi took to Twitter over the proposal seeking to bring in major changes in the allocation of services to candidates who clear the all-India examination.