House panel accuses UPSC of 'trying to hide its inefficient working'

Updated on May 11, 2007 05:24 AM IST
The panel – that took a serious note of the UPSC decision not to appear before them, reports Aloke Tikku.
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None | By, New Delhi

The Union Public Service Commission – that is already fighting a legal battle with civil service aspirants to retain an iron curtain over its functioning – has run foul of a parliamentary panel too.

The parliamentary committee on Thursday accused the commission of “trying to hide its inefficient working” under the pretext of its constitutional status and warned that the committee could invoke its inherent powers of parliamentary breach of privilege proceedings in future.

For now, the panel – that took a serious note of the UPSC decision not to appear before them – said it was taking a lenient view and asked the Prime Minister to deliberate on the situation. UPSC has been claiming that the body was set up under the Constitution and it was beyond their status to appear before the panel.

"...Strangely UPSC is projecting (itself) as above the law of the land," the parliamentary standing committee said in its report tabled in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Listing the Central Bureau of Investigation and National Archives as some of the organisations facing shortage of staff due to delays in filling vacancies, the committee said the position taken by the commission appeared to be an attempt to hide its inefficient working due to which many government organisations are headless for years together.

"The committee strongly comments that under the garb of being a constitutional body, UPSC cannot absolve itself from appearing before the committee," the report said, pointing 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.

The report also referred to UPSC’s reluctance to give out information under the Right to Information Act. The commission had recently challenged a Delhi High Court order to give candidates information about their marks in individual subjects under the RTI law.

"This attitude of UPSC is certainly antithetic to the principles of Parliamentary democracy like ours."

The report also advised UPSC to uphold high standards of transparency and accountability in view of its constitutional status.

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    Aloke Tikku has covered internal security, transparency and politics for Hindustan Times. He has a keen interest in legal affairs and dabbles in data journalism.

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