A SPSC performs all those functions in respect of the state services as the UPSC does in relation to the Central services:
(a) It conducts examinations for appointments to the services of the state.
(b) It is consulted on the following matters related to personnel management:
(i) All matters relating to methods of recruitment to civil services and for civil posts.
(ii) The principles to be followed in making appointments to civil services and posts and in making promotions and transfers from one service to another.
(iii) The suitability of candidates for appointments to civil services and posts; for promotions and transfers from one service to another; and appointments by transfer or deputation. The concerned departments make recommendations for promotions and request the SPSC to ratify them.
(iv) All disciplinary matters affecting a person serving under the government of the state in a civil capacity including memorials or petitions relating to such matters. These include:
-- Censure (severe disapproval)
-- Withholding of increments
-- Withholding of promotions
-- Recovery of pecuniary loss
-- Reduction to lower service or rank (demotion)
-- Compulsory retirement
-- Removal from service
-- Dismissal from service
(v) Any claim for reimbursement of legal expenses incurred by a civil servant in defending legal proceedings instituted against him in respect of acts done in the execution of his official duties.
(vi) Any claim for the award of a pension in respect of injuries sustained by a person while serving under the government of the state and any question as to the amount of any such award.
(vii) Any other matter related to the personnel management.
The Supreme Court has held that if the government fails to consult the SPSC in these matters, the aggrieved public servant has no remedy in a court. In other words, the court held that any irregularity in consultation with the SPSC or acting without consultation does not invalidate the decision of the government. Thus, the provision is directory and not mandatory. Similarly, the court held that a selection by the SPSC does not confer any right to the post upon the candidate. However, the government is to act fairly and without arbitrariness or malafides.
The additional functions relating to the services of the state can be conferred on SPSC by the state legislature. It can also place the personnel system of any local authority, corporate body or public institution within the jurisdiction of the SPSC. Hence the jurisdiction of SPSC can be extended by an Act made by the state legislature.
The SPSC presents, annually, to the governor a report on its performance. The governor places this report before both the Houses of the state legislature, along with a memorandum explaining the cases where the advice of the Commission was not accepted and the reasons for such nonacceptance.
The following matters are kept outside the functional jurisdiction of the SPSC. In other words, the SPSC is not consulted on the following matters:
(a) While making reservations of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens.
(b) While taking into consideration the claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in making appointments to services and posts.
The governor can exclude posts, services and matters from the purview of the SPSC. The Constitution states that the governor, in respect to the state services and posts may make regulations specifying the matters in which, it shall not be necessary for SPSC to be consulted. But all such regulations made by the governor shall be laid before each House of the state legislature for at least 14 days. The state legislature can amend or repeal them.
The Constitution visualises the SPSC to be the ‘watchdog of merit system’ in the state. It is concerned with the recruitment to the state services and advises the government, when consulted, on promotion and disciplinary matters. It is not concerned with the classification of services, pay and service conditions, cadre management, training and so on. These matters are handled by the Department of Personnel or the General Administration Department. Therefore, the SPSC is only a central recruiting agency in the state while the Department of Personnel or the General Administration Department is the central personnel agency in the state.
The role of SPSC is not only limited, but also recommendations made by it are only of advisory nature and hence, not binding on the government. It is up to the state government to accept or reject that advice. The only safeguard is the answerability of the government to the state legislature for departing from the recommendation of the Commission. Further, the government can also make rules which regulate the scope of the advisory functions of SPSC.
Also, the emergence of State Vigilance Commission (SVC) in 1964 affected the role of SPSC in disciplinary matters. This is because both are consulted by the government while taking disciplinary action against a civil servant. The problem arises when the two bodies tender conflicting advice. However, the SPSC, being an independent constitutional body, has an edge over the SVC.
Finally, the SPSC is consulted by the governor while framing rules for appointment to judicial service of the state other than the posts of district judges. In this regard, the concerned state high court is also consulted.