All India Services

All India Services

The Design of the Civil Service at Independence

  • While designing a successor civil service, the Indian political leaders chose to retain elements of the British structure of a unified administrative system such as an open-entry system based on academic achievements, elaborate training arrangements, permanency of tenure, important posts at Union, State and district levels reserved for the civil service, a regular graduated scale of pay with pension and other benefits and a system of promotions and transfers based predominantly on seniority.
  • The civil services in India can be grouped into three broad categories. Services whose members serve both the Union and the State Governments are termed as All India Services.
  • Services whose members serve only the Union Government are termed Central Civil Services. Apart from these, the State Governments have their own group of services – State Civil Services.
  • The posts in the Union and the State Governments are hierarchically arranged into four Groups – Group A to Group D.

Object of formation of all-India services

  • Apart from the services under the respective state governments, the Constitution has made special provision for the constitution of all-India services as a service common to the Union and the states.
  • Article 312 of the Constitution makes specific provision for the creation of the all-India services by parliament if the council of states has declared by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary in the national interest that in respect of a particular service an all-India cadre of officers should be constituted, Parliament can do so.

Initial constitution of all-India services under the Constitution

  • In exercise of the powers conferred under article 312 Parliament enacted the All India Services Act, 1951.
  • Before enacting the said law, the necessity of the resolution of the council of states as required under article 312 was dispensed with by the President in exercise of his powers of removal of difficulties under article 392.
  • Dispensing with the necessity of resolution of council of states for the constitution of all-India services was within the competence of the President and therefore it was competent for Parliament to have enacted the said law without the resolution of council of states.
  • Under section 4 of the Act, all the rules relating to recruitment and other conditions of service applicable to IAS and IPS, which were in force prior to the commencement of the Constitution, were adopted.
  • Further, the Act has empowered the Government of India to make, after consultation with the state government, rules for regulation of recruitment and conditions of services of the persons appointed to an All India Service.
  • In exercise of power under section 3 of the Act, the recruitment rules, the cadre rules, the All India Service (Conditions of service – Residuary Matters) Rules, 1960 have been made by the central government.
  • The cadre rules enable the central government to determine the strength and composition of the cadre in each state by framing regulations and in exercise of such power, the Cadre Strength Regulations, 1955 have been framed by the central government and not only the total authorized strength of the cadre for each state has been indicated but also it indicates the number of posts for different categories of posts within the cadre.
  • Thus, the Act, rules and regulations are a complete set of provisions dealing with different aspects of the service conditions to the Indian Administrative Service and the entire scheme contained in these rules and regulations have to be borne in mind while deciding the issues involved in this case.

New all-India services

  • By the All-India Services (Amendment) Act, 1963 in addition to Indian administrative service and Indian police service, three more all-india Services were created namely:
  1. The Indian Forest Service
  2. The Indian Medical and Health Services
  3. The Indian Service of Engineers (Irrigation, Power, Building and Road)
  • After this amendment to the All-India Services Act, recruitment rules have been framed for purposes of recruitment to the Indian forest service. Under these rules, initial recruitment regulations to the Indian forest service were also framed in the year 1966 and recruitments have been made.
  • Though the rules have been framed for regulating recruitment to the Indian Medical Services, the recruitment to this service has not yet taken place and the said service has not come into existence.
  • Nor has the Indian Service of Engineers been constituted; the relevant rules have not been even framed.

All India Judicial Service

  • Article 312( 1) was amended by the Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment) Act providing for the constitution of All-India Judicial Service. Clauses (3) and (4) read:
  1. The all-India judicial service referred to in clause (1) shall not include any post inferior to that of a district judge as defined in article 236.
  2. The law providing for the creation of the all-India judicial service aforesaid may contain such provisions for the amendment of chapter VI of part VI as may be necessary for giving effect to the provisions of that law and no such law shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of article 368.
  • In view of clause (3), all-India judicial service would only consist of the cadre of district judges. At present the recruitment to the cadre of district judges is made by direct recruitment and promotion on the recommendation of and in consultation with the high court respectively as provided in article 233.
  • Under article 235 the full administrative control over the district judges is also vested in the high court. For creating an all-India service consisting of the cadre of district judges, amendments to articles 233 and 235 becomes necessary to designate the appointing authority and the controlling authority.
  • Therefore, clause (4) is also added to article 312 to enable parliament to make necessary amendments to chapter VI of part VI (articles 233 to 237) of the Constitution by an ordinary legislation on the lines of articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution. Such legislation would prevail over chapter VI of part VI insofar it relates to the cadre of district judges.
  • Though article 312 was amended in the year 1976, steps have not been taken to constitute the service.
  • The introduction of official language of the state concerned as the language to be used in courts appears to be one of the hurdles, for, unlike the sufficiency of a limited knowledge of the regional language for administrative officers, discharging the functions of district judge, original as well as appellate, one must be proficient in the regional language.
  • However, serious attempts now seem afoot for the constitution of all-India judicial service.

Regulation of recruitment and conditions of service

  • Under article 312 powers has been conferred on parliament to make law regulating recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the all-India services. This is a special provision regulating recruitment and conditions of service relating to all-India services.
  • While there is reference to all-India service in articles 310 and 311, there is no reference to it in article 309.
  • Therefore, matters relating to recruitment and conditions of service in relation to all-India services have to be regulated by legislation by parliament.

Tenure of office:

  • There is no difference between the members of the all India services and persons appointed to the services under the union or the state in regard to tenure of office.
  • Provisions of articles 310 and 311 apply equally to persons appointed to all-India services.

Delegation of powers to frame rules not excluded

  • Article 312 specifically confers power on Parliament to recruitment and conditions of service in respect of all-India services. The words “the Parliament may by law provide” occurring in article 312 does not mean that the usual power of delegation is not available to Parliament.
  • The absence of the words “by or under any law made by Parliament” does not make any difference. It is competent for the legislature to delegate to other authorities the power to frame rules to carry out the purpose of the law made by it. Delegation of legislative function can be made to executive authorities within certain limits.
  • Subject to these limits it is competent for parliament to delegate the power of framing rules relating to recruitment and conditions of service of the government.8 Under section 3 of the All-India Services Act, 1951, the central government may after consultation with the government of the states concerned make rules for the regulation of recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to all-India services.
  • Sub-section (2) of section 3 further provides that the rules framed by the central government in exercise of its power under sub-section (1) of section 3 should be placed for not less than 14 days before parliament after they are made and that the rules shall have effect subject to such modifications which may be made by parliament during the session in which the rules are laid before parliament.

Repugnancy between the All-India Services Act and state enactments:

  • The recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to all-India services can be regulated only by or under any law made by Parliament in exercise of its power under article 312.
  • Therefore, disciplinary proceeding against members of all-India services being a matter relating to conditions of service, it can be regulated only by law made by parliament or the rules framed there under.
  • Any law made by the state legislature, which deals with the institution of disciplinary proceedings against members of all-India service, which is repugnant to the discipline and appeal rules, framed under the AllIndia Services Act, cannot operate against the members of the all-India services.

Method of recruitment

  • In exercise of powers conferred under section 3 of the All-India Services Act, the central government has framed rules for recruitment to Indian administrative services.
  • The rules confer power on the central government to frame regulations for appointment:
  1. by competitive examination
  2. by promotion
  • by selection
  • According to the provisions of the regulations, the competitive examination for direct recruitment to IAS is held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Administrative Services (Appointment by Competitive Examination) Regulations, 1955. Promotion is regulated by Indian Administrative Services (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1955.
  • According to these regulations, a selection committee constituted under the regulations makes the selection of persons for appointment to the IAS by way of promotion from among the officers who are holding the posts in the state civil services.
  • The civil service has been defined to mean a service, the member of which normally holds for purpose of revenue and general administration, charge of a sub-division, of a district or a post of higher responsibility or such civil post in class-I or class II as may be approved by the central government.
  • After the selection committee makes the selection, UPSC considers the selection so made and the list as approved by the commission forms the select list for purposes of appointment to the service. Persons so selected are appointed as members of the IAS in respect of the posts included in the IAS in respect of each state.
  • The Indian Administrative Services (Appointment by Selection) Regulations, 1956, provides for selection and appointment of persons belonging to the services other than the state civil service who are of outstanding merit and suitability. The appointing authority to the IAS is the central government.
  • Similar to the rules relating to recruitment to Indian administrative service the central government has framed rules called the Indian Police Service Recruitment Rules, 1954 for regulating recruitment to the IPS.
  • The rules in turn delegate the power of framing regulations to the central government in respect of competitive examination and promotion. In pursuance of the said power, the central government has framed the Indian Police Services (Appointment by Competitive Examination) Regulations, 1955, and Indian Police Services (Appointment by Promotion) Regulations, 1955.
  • The provisions relating to recruitment and promotions to the IPS and the Indian forest service are similar to those relating to the IAS.

Cadre Controlling Authority

  • The recruitment for IAS and IPS is conducted through the Civil Services Examination which is held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year.
  • While for IFS, the preliminary examination is combined with the Civil Services Exam and the other stages of the exam are held separately.
  • The candidates who are selected are recruited as officers and trained by the Central Government, and then allocated to different State cadres.

The cadre controlling authorities of the All India Services i.e. of IAS, IPS, and IFS are as follow:

All India ServiceCadre Controlling Authority
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
Indian Police Service (IPS)Ministry of Home Affairs
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change



  • There are twenty-four cadres in the country and also there are three joint cadres: Assam-Meghalaya; Manipur-Tripura; and Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT).
  • The officers of the All India Services (AIS) namely, Indian Administrative Service (IAS); Indian Forest Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) are divided into state cadres.
  • During their probation, the All India Service Officers are allotted to their States and officers of the All India Services working with the Union Government are also posted on deputation for few years.
  • Almost two-third of the All India Services Officers who are allotted to the State Cadre is from outside the state and the remaining may be the original residents of the allocated State.
  • Once an officer is allocated to a State Cadre, he/she generally continues to work with that State Cadre during his/her whole service.
  • Candidates who are recruited are allocated to different state cadres and as and when required they may also be moved to Union Government jobs on deputation.

Explanation Basics of each AIS

Indian Administrative Service

  • The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the direct descendant of the old Indian Civil Service. As an all India service, it is under the ultimate control of the Union Government, but is divided into State cadres, each under the immediate control of a State Government.
  • The salary and the pension of these officers are met by the States. But the disciplinary control and imposition of penalties rest with the Central Government which is guided, in this respect, by the advice of the Union Public Service Commission. On appointment, the officers are posted to different State cadres.
  • The strength of each State cadre, however, is so fixed as to include a reserve of officers who can be deputed for service under the Union Government for one or more ‘tenures’ of three, four or five years before they return to the State cadre. This ensures that the Union Government has at its disposal the services of officers with first hand knowledge and experience of conditions in the States, while the State Governments have the advantage of their officers being familiar with the policies and programmes of the Union Government. Such an arrangement works for the mutual benefit of both governments.
  • The majority of individual officers have an opportunity of serving at least one spell of duty under the Union Government; many have more than one such spell.
  • The practice of rotating senior officers in and out of the Secretariat position is known in official parlance as the tenure system.
  • Another distinctive feature of this Service is its multi-purpose character. It is composed of ‘generalist administrators’ who are expected, from time to time, to hold posts involving a wide variety of duties and functions; for example, maintenance of law and grder, collection of revenue, regulation of trade, commerce and industry, welfare activities development and extension work, etc. In brief, the IAS is intended to serve all the purposes formerly served by the ICS except providing officers for the judiciary.
  • Thus, this Service is a kind of generalist service, and its officers are liable for posting in almost any branch ,of the administration.

Indian Police Service

  • The Indian Police Service is an original all India Service (it had pre-independence origins) which differs from its compeer – the IAS in two ways: (i) most of the officers in this service work only in the state since there are only a few police posts at the Centre and (ii) its pay scale and status are lower than those of the IAS.
  • The officers of the IPS are recruited from the same unified All India Civil Service examination which recruits all members of the IAS, IFS and other Central Civil Services.
  • Recruits to the IPS are first given a five months foundational training and later special training at the Sardar Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad.
  • The subjects of study and the training is drill, handling of weapons, etc., which have a direct bearing on the normal work of a police officer. The syllabus of training includes studies of crime psychology, scientific aids in detection of crime, methods of combating corruption and emergency relief.
  • After completing a year’s training, the probationer passes an examination conducted by the UPSC. He is, then appointed as an Assistant Superintendent of Police. But, before this appointment he has to undergo a year’s programme of training; he is given practical training which requires him to do the work of various subordinate officers. It is only after this that he is appointed an Assistant Superintendent of Police.
  • As an all India Service it is under the ultimate control of the Union Government, but is divided into state cadres, each under the immediate control of a state government.
  • The Indian Police Service is managed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, though the general policies relating to its personnel are determined by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms.

Indian Forest Service

  • The Indian Forest Service is the only all India Service that has been set up after independence. It became operational by an Act of Parliament in 1963. Its pay scale and status is lower than that of the two original all India Services – the IAS and the IPS.
  • Its recruits are chosen from an exclusive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission which consists of a written test and interview. Though it is an All India Service, its nature is not that of a generalized civil service, but is specialized and functional. It is managed by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms which is in charge of making rules of recruitment, discipline and conditions of service regarding all India Services.
  • After selection the appointees undergo a foundational course lasting three months along with successful candidates of the other all India and Central Services. After the foundation course, the probationers move to their own Academy (Indian Forest Institute) at Dehradun for a rigorous two year training course, the end of which they have to pass an examination before formal posting.
  • The Indian Forest Service is cadre-based as in the case of other All India Services. Like all other All India Services, a member of this Service can come to the Centre on deputation but has to go back to his cadre after the period of deputation is over.
  • Immediately, after being posted in any Office within the cadre he is kept on probation for one year where after he gets his regular posting at a different Office in the same cadre. The outer parameter of the operational area is a state or union territory.
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