Introduction: Bangladesh Public Service Commission (BPSC) is a constitutional body. Its structures and functions are based on provisions incorporated in the constitution. It is the apex body dealing with major recruitment works of civil servants of the country. It mainly performs the duty to conduct tests and examinations for the selection of suitable persons for appointment to the civil service. Since British rule in this subcontinent, the Public Service Commission retains a special image of secrecy, strictness, and accuracy in the recruitment process. However, political upheavals throughout the last 50 years of our history have brought a lot of changes in the composition, functions, and qualitative aspects of the commission.
Salient features of Public Service Commission
A. Composition: The presidential order no. LVII of 1977 has fixed up the number of members of BPSC between six (minimum) and fifteen (maximum) including the chairman. According to information available from the Ministry of Establishment and PSC, the PSC is consists of
1 chairman; 11 members; 1 secretary; 6 directors; 1 psychologist; 1 deputy secretary; 1 research officer; 6 deputy directors; 14 Assistant directors; 2 Junior research officers.
B. Appointment: Clause (1) of Article 138 of the constitution specifically provides that the chairman and other members of the public service commission shall be appointed by the president.
C. Membership: The constitution has not specified any qualification for
the chairman/members of BPSC except for a condition that not less than one-half of the members of the commission should be from among persons who have worked in the government service for twenty years or more. These conditions stipulate that at least one-half of the members of PSC would be selected from among senior civil servants. They would at least be University graduates in various disciplines. However, the qualifications of the members of BPSC from among persons outside the government service have not been specified in the constitution. Besides, the conditions of the services of the chairman/members of PSC shall be determined by separate order made by the president.
D. Terms of the office: According to Article 138 of the constitution- the terms of office of the chairman/members of BPSC is five years or until they reach the age of sixty-two, whichever is earlier. – After the completion of five years term- a member of PSC is not eligible for further government service; – the chairman is eligible for reappointment for an additional term; – the tenure of members can be renewed for an extra term or who may be appointed as a chairman of BPSC.
E. Removal: The chairman/members of the BPSC can be removed from the office in like manner and on like grounds a judge of the supreme court is removed. The procedure at first requires a presidential order alleging misbehavior or infirmity of mind or body. This order then requires the approval of the supreme judicial council to become effective which is consists of a chief justice and the next two senior justices.
F. Functional units of BPSC: The business of BPSC in the headquarter is conducted in twelve such sections as (1) Establishment section; (2) Accounts section; (3) Service section (i); (4) Service section (ii); (5) Recruitment section (i); (6) Recruitment section (ii); (7) Examination section; (8) confidential section; (9) BCS cadre section; (10) Psychology section; (11) Research section; (12) Library section;
In addition, there are four zonal offices of PSC in Dhaka, Khulna, Chittagong, and Rajshahi.
G. Powers and functions: According to Article 140 of the constitution as well as the BPSC business of conduct rules-1981, BPSC consultancy regulations of 1979, and BPSC annual reports so for published, BPSC performed such important functions as to
1. advice ministries/divisions on
– framing necessary recruitment rules for the services/posts under their respective control.
– matters relating to the determination of qualifications for and methods of recruitment to such services/posts;
– principles to be followed in recruitments, promotions, transfer to and within services/post.
2. Conduct competitive and selection examination and/or interviews for direct recruitment of persons to services/posts under different ministries/divisions.
3. Conduct psychological and intelligence tests for candidates who qualify in the competitive examinations held under the supervision of BPSC to select fresh recruits to various cadre services.
4. Conduct tests or/and interviews for the promotion of government servants from one class of service to another.
5. Select candidates from temporary government servants for appointment in permanent government posts.
6. Endorse Adhoc appointment made under various ministries/divisions.
7. Recommendation for recruitment is an important function of PSC. At first, PSC is to invite applications for the notified vacant posts, conduct examinations or/and interviews, select candidates, and send the names of selected candidates to the ministries/division and departments along with the recommendations.
8. Tender advice on the determination of inter seniority position of government officers.
9. Examine and approve the rules and syllabi of various departmental /professional examinations for the government at servants.
10. Advice on matters affecting the terms and conditions of service (including pension rights) of government servants.
11. Advice on disciplinary and appeal matters affecting government servants.
Evaluation: Although BPSC is performing crucial functions of the selection of suitable personnel for government offices and it has a glorious history, but at present, the very business of the commission is at stake. The quality of examinations, neutrality in the selection of candidates, the effectiveness of its recommendations, etc. are being questioned. Such as
1. Disregard of PSC’s recommendations: President’s disregard of
PSC’s recommendations relating to recruitment by the government and the irregular use of power in recruitment matters, violations of statutory rules, and irregular appointments and promotions have become a common feature.
2. Circumscription by the president order: The relevant constitutional provisions stipulate that all recruitments in the government service should be made through the PSC but it is not the case in actual practice. The PSC’s jurisdiction relating to recruitments seems to have been somewhat circumscribed by a number of rules, regulations, and orders made by the president.
3. Politicization of the commission: The BPSC has become a dumping ground for those academicians and bureaucrats who can not be placed anywhere else. It is an open secret that the chairman and members of PSC over the years have been appointed on political ground. But they could neither claimed to be experienced civil servants, not eminent academicians nor eminent lawyers.
4. Control by the establishment ministry PSC’s position as an The independent constitutional body seems to have been circumscribed by the fact that it is an attached department of the establishment ministry. Most of the organizational, administrative, and financial matters of PSC are subject to final scrutiny and control of the establishment ministry.
5. Lack of qualified staff: As the workload increased, the number of PSC’s officers and staff become increasingly inadequate. BPSC seems to lack professionally qualified staff in the sphere of conducting psychological and intelligence tests for fresh recruits in the care services. The research department of the commission is not very effective too.
From the above and related discussion, it is obvious that PSC is endowed with the most crucial functions of providing meritorious personnel for administration. So, to make the commission effective, two sets of interrelated conditions must be fulfilled. First, Our political leaders and bureaucrats should have adhered to unwritten conventions of accepting the recommendations of PSC relating to all service matters. Second, regular consultation between PSC and the ministry of establishment is a must to sort out disagreements and differences between the two.