Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday waded into the debate over the appointment of Manoj Soni as the new chairman of the Union Public Service Commission.
Amid reports by some media outlets that Soni shared close ties with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP, Rahul on Monday took to Twitter to rebrand the UPSC as “Union Pracharak Sangh Commission”. He further said, “India’s Constitution is being demolished, one Institution at a time.”
Soni had been appointed as UPSC chairman on April 5. Soni, who had been a member of the UPSC in May 2017, had earlier been the vice-chancellor of the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, Ahmedabad and the MS University in Vadodara. He has also been associated with the Swaminarayan sect in Gujarat.
A profile of the new UPSC chairman said that he is a political science scholar who taught international relations at Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar between 1991 and 2016.
Some media reports said that Soni was once a speechwriter for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his tenure as Gujarat’s chief minister. Reports claimed that Soni’s doctoral research was on ‘Post-Cold War International Systemic Transition and Indo-US Relations’, which was published in a book titled ‘Understanding the Global Political Earthquake’ in 1998.
1. The Chairman and other members of a Public Service Commission shall be appointed, in the case of the Union Commission or a Joint Commission, by the President, and in the case of a State Commission, by the Governor of the State:
Provided that as nearly as may be one-half of the members of every Public Service Commission shall be persons who at the dates of their respective appointments have held office for at least ten years either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State, and in computing the said period of ten years any period before the commencement of this Constitution during which a person has held office under the Crown in India or under the Government of an Indian State shall be included.
A. If the office of the Chairman of the Commission becomes vacant or if any such Chairman is by reason of absence or for any other reason unable to perform the duties of his office, those duties shall, until some person appointed under clause (1) to the vacant office has entered on the duties thereof or, as the case may be, until the Chairman has resumed his duties, be performed by such one of the other members of the Commission as the President, in the case of the Union Commission or a Joint Commission, and the Governor of the State in the case of a State Commission, may appoint for the purpose.
2. A member of a Public Service Commission shall hold office for a term of six years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains, in the case of the Union Commission, the age of sixty-five years, and in the case of a State Commission or a Joint Commission, the age of sixty-two years, whichever is earlier:
a. a member of a Public Service Commission may, by writing under his hand addressed, in the case of the Union Commission or a Joint Commission, to the President, and in the case of a State Commission, to the Governor of the State, resign his office;
b. a member of a Public Service Commission may be removed from his office in the manner provided in clause (1) or clause (3) of article 317.
3. A person who holds office as a member of a Public Service Commission shall, on the expiration of his term of office, be ineligible for reappointment to that office.