GUWAHATI, June 7 - The MP Bezbaruah Committee had recommended a series of guidelines for selection of the chairman and members of the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) to ensure that the image of the Commission can be restored and now it remains to be seen whether the State Government follows the guidelines while filling up the vacant posts. The Commission is now facing problems because of shortage of members and only three members, including the acting chairman, are manning the APSC, which has affected its functioning.
The MP Bezbaruah Committee observed that the State Government should take care to ensure that the public service commissions are manned by competent, honest and independent persons of outstanding ability and high reputation who command confidence of the people and who would not allow themselves to be deflected by extraneous consideration.
The Committee laid down a series of guidelines for selection of persons to be appointed as chairman and members of the APSC and said that a search committee should be framed with the Chief Secretary as its chairman. The search committee should also include the State Vigilance Commissioner and a nominee of the Chief Justice of the High Court not below the rank of a district judge. The search committee should prepare a panel of names for appointment as members of the APSC whenever any vacancy comes up and present it to the Chief Minister. The committee will also prepare a similar panel for selection of the chairman of the APSC. A committee with the Chief Minister as the chairman and Leader of the Opposition and a nominee of the Chief Justice of the High Court as members will select a name for recommendation to the Governor for appointment as the chairman of the APSC.
The committee suggested that the secretary of the APSC, who is in overall charge of the administration, should be an officer of the rank of Additional Secretary, preferably an IAS officer and should be on deputation for not less than three years. He should hold the position as independent charge. The secretary should be assisted by joint secretaries, who will be in charge of different sections like administration, combined competitive examinations, other examinations, etc. If possible, the combined competitive examinations should be split into different sections.
Over the years, the Governments took decisions on selection of persons as the chairman and members of the APSC and even the issue was not needed to be discussed in the Cabinet. Over the years, the system for appointment of chairman and members of the APSC was that the Chief Minister recommended the name to the Governor for the appointments and those were accepted. In the process, the Chief Minister remained the sole deciding authority for selection of chairman and members. The system is not transparent and open to criticism.