‘Altering civil service rules unconstitutional’

New Delhi, May 23: Terming it unconstitutional, Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said the government’s proposal of allocating cadres and services to candidates selected under civil service examinations only after completion of foundation course will compromise the anonymity and objectivity associated with the exam. It will lead to the “preference” of the executive government playing a role in the selection process. “First, 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 foundation course marks given by the executive government,” Chidambaram wrote in a blog post. “I doubt if the proposed change can be implemented without amending Article 320,” he said. The Congress leader said the move will “greatly” affect the anonymity and objectivity of the selection process.
The remarks came a day after Congress President Rahul Gandhi criticised the government’s proposal saying it wanted to appoint officers of “RSS’s choice”. The Department of Personnel and Training has written letters to all cadre-controlling ministries seeking their comments on the Prime Minister’s Office proposal asking if probationers should be allocated the services and cadre after reviewing their performance in the three-month foundation course besides the score obtained in the Civil Services Examination.
Chidambaram said that despite their strengths and weaknesses, the All India Services have by and large served the country well since the selection of cadre is done by, or on the recommendation of, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and is believed to be totally objective. The Congress leader said if the foundation course marks are taken into account for allocation of service and cadre, it will compromise the transparency and objectivity of the process since the course is conducted by officers appointed by and answerable to the executive government. (IANS)