Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) is one of the oldest statutory institutions in Pakistan that is quite close to the centenary of its existence. It caters to the needs of Recruiting Personnel for the Provincial Civil Service and is in line with standard statutes adopted by countries to meet the emerging challenges of development. The formation and implementation of commissions mandated to Recruit Civil Servants was a corollary to the British contribution to the public administration of the sub-continent providing a system of modern career public service. Pakistan retained the essential characteristics of the Civil Service structure that evolved during the colonial period.
The process was initiated after the transfer of the Governance function to the British Government in 1858 with setting-up of some line departments followed up by Aitchison Commission in 1886 that divided the civil service into three categories: The Indian Civil Service; The Provincial Service and The Subordinate Civil Service with one-sixth of the superior reserved posts be opened to the Provincial Civil Service. The most significant result of the commission was the abolition of the Statutory Civil Service and its replacement by the Provincial Civil Service (PCS) which became the forerunner of Pakistan’s provincial bureaucracy mandated to be manned primarily by indigenous officers and in which positions would be filled locally by provincial authorities.
In this context the commission maintained that the Covenanted Civil Service and the Un-covenanted Civil Service had never been distinct and mutually exclusive entities and that differences in responsibilities and status had become blurred, thus necessitating the creation of a new cadre. The PCS’s creation introduced a center-province distinction with ICS officers recruited by the central Government primarily for Provincial assignments countrywide and also serving at the center; PCS officers worked only within their respective provinces. By 1935, only the members of two services, the ICS and the Indian Police Service (IPS), known as All-India Services, could be deputed anywhere in the Country.
Although the British decided to recruit personnel in All India Civil Services through Competitive Examination in 1853 but by 1920 there were five methods of entry into the higher Civil Service: firstly, the open Competitive Examinations in London; secondly, separate Competitive Examinations in India that started being held in 1922 and thereafter; thirdly, nomination in India to satisfy Provincial and communal representation; fourthly, promotion from the Provincial Civil Service and lastly, appointments from the bar as one-fourth of the posts in the ICS were to be filled from the bar. There was glaringly no central regulatory authority to supervise recruitment to all branches of Civil Service. The ball for regulating Civil Service structure was set rolling by Viscount Lee Commission set up in 1923 that made the following recommendations in its report submitted in 1924:
• The Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Medical Service of Engineers (Irrigation branch), and Indian Forest Service should be retained. The members of these services continued to be appointed as well as controlled by the Secretary of State for India;
• No further recruitment should be made to other all-India services viz. the Indian Agricultural Service, Indian Veterinary Service, Indian Educational Service, Indian Service of Engineers( roads and building branch), and Indian Forest Service. The members of these services should in the future be appointed and controlled by the Provincial Governments;
• For effecting Indianisation of services, twenty percent of the superior posts should be filled by promotion from the Provincial Civil Service. Direct recruitments should be in equal proportions for Indians and Englishmen so that a ratio of 50:50 is produced in about 15 years;
• A Public Service Commission, as provided by the Government of India Act of 1919, should be established.
In the sub-continent, the first Public Service Commission (PSC) was established on October 1, 1926, at the Central level and the Bengal PSC at the Provincial level on April 1, 1937, under the Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935 respectively. In the interim, in 1930, the Civil Service (Classification, Control, and Appeal) Rules were promulgated which divided the services into the All India Services, the Central Services, and the Provincial Services. Members of the All India Service served both in the Provincial and the Central Governments, whereas, those of the Central Services served only in the Central Government.
Government of India Act, 1935 provided for more autonomy to Indian Government along with increasing the number of Indians being employed through Public Service Commission. This paved the way for widening the net of public service commissions in the provinces under the governor of the province with powers to take the certain category of posts out of the purview of Federal Central Public Service Commission. It was, however, observed that it was in an atmosphere of mistrust and rivalry that public service commissions did function from 1937 to 1947.
Sindh was part of the Bombay province; therefore, Sind-Bombay Public Service Commission was established in April 1937 its first Chairman was Sir Hugh B. Clynton he functioned till January 1948 though Sindh was separated from Bombay in 1936. The existing shape of Sindh Public Service is a derivative of the Sind-Bombay Public Service Commission and came into existence in January 1948 and Dr. H.B. Hingorani became its chairman. Pakistan promulgated its first constitution in 1956 and retained the provisions regarding both the central and provincial commissions enumerated in the Act of 1935. In 1956, however, the central government implemented the One Unit scheme that converted the country into two provinces with Sindh and NWFP amalgamated in the Western wing. Sindh Public Service Commission was merged and became West Pakistan Public Service Commission with Dr. H.B. Hingorani becoming its first chairman.
The Constitution of 1956 was abrogated in 1958 by the military government that brought its own Constitution of 1962 that was presidential in nature. This new constitution kept the regulations regarding Public Service Commission intact and maintained the existence of the West Pakistan Public Service Commission. One Unit was abolished in 1970 but by then the province of Balochistan came into being and its civil service recruitment was clubbed with Sindh, thus Sind-Balochistan Public Service Commission was formed that continued to work till August 1973 and Justice Feroze Nana Ghulam Ally became its chairman. Consequently, in August 1973 Sindh Public Service Commission was restored as a separate entity with Mr. G.D. Memon becoming its chairman.
The Government of PM ZA Bhutto promulgated the Constitution 1973 and also initiated administrative reforms whereby under Article 240 of the constitution, civil service appointments and their terms and conditions were to be determined by an act of parliament: in this case, the Civil Servants Act of 1973 was passed. According to Article 240, all provincial civil service posts are determined by acts passed by provincial assemblies. The acts promulgated by the four federal units, which regulate the appointment and terms of service of provincial civil servants, are essentially replicas of the federal Civil Servants Act of 1973. A number of other legal instruments also regulate the functioning of the civil bureaucracy within the rubric of these federal and provincial acts. in the current context, the matter is specified by Article 242 of the Constitution of Pakistan mandating the provincial legislature to constitute a Public Service Commission that would be headed by a Chairman who would be appointed by the provincial Governor on advice of the Chief Minister.