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UPSC won’t appear before House panel

A stinker from a parliamentary panel hasn't helped lift the iron curtain over the functioning of the Union Public Service Commission, reports Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2007 03:30 IST
Aloke Tikku

A stinker from a parliamentary panel hasn't helped lift the iron curtain over the functioning of the Union Public Service Commission.

The commission has told Parliament to send them a written questionnaire through the government when it needs a clarification and not expect the commission members or its representatives to appear before parliamentary committees.

In its report this year, the standing parliamentary committee headed by Congress MP EM Sudarsana Natchiappan had accused the UPSC of "trying to hide its inefficient working" under the pretext of its constitutional status and threatened to invoke its inherent powers of parliamentary breach of privilege proceedings in future. "The committee strongly states that under the garb of being a constitutional body, UPSC cannot absolve itself from appearing before the committee," the report tabled in Parliament in May 2007 had said.

It was also pointed out that representatives of other constitutional bodies like the Election Commission and the Supreme Court appeared before the committee to give their views on budgetary allocations for their organisations.

But the strong words have not brought about a change of heart in UPSC, already fighting a legal battle with civil service aspirants to claim exemption from provisions of the Right to Information Act. The commission's response was part of the action-taken report tabled in Parliament by Suresh Pachouri, the Minister of State for personnel, public grievances and pensions.

The commission said it had the highest regard for parliament and its committee but pointed out to the "sound convention" established over five decades that the commission was represented by the department of personnel and training.