Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2015)
The role and importance of civil servants in India-A socio legal study
Author(s): Dr. Niranjan Parida
Abstract: The primary concern of the citizens in a good civil society is that their government must be fair and good. For a Government to be good it is essential that their systems and sub-systems of Governance are efficient, economic, ethical and equitable. In addition the governing process must also be just reasonable fair and citizen-friendly. The administrative system must also be accountable and responsive besides promoting transparency and people’s participation. The test of good governance lies in the effective implementation of it’s policies and programmes for the attainment of set goals. Good governance implies accountability to the citizens of a democratic polity and their involvement in decision making, implementation and evaluation of projects programmes and public policies. In this perspective transparency and accountability become invaluable components of good governance as well as of good administration. Transparency makes sure that people know exactly what is going on and what is the rationale of the decisions taken by the Government or its functionaries at different levels. The Minister of a department has to depend on the advice of the civil servants who are a sort of permanent brains trust. They advise and assist the minister concerning the work of the department and find solutions of various administrative problems arising outside the normal routine of the department. Although policy making is the responsibility of the minister even in this field he is dependent upon the permanent undersecretary whose knowledge and experience provide the necessary foundation for policy determination. Warren Fisher has described the role of civil servants in the following words “Determination of policy is the function of ministers and once a policy is determined it is the unquestioned and unquestionable business of the civil servant to strive to carry out that policy with precisely the same goodwill whether he agrees with it or not. That is axiomatic and will never be in dispute. At the same time it is the traditional duty of civil servants while decisions are being formulated to make available to their political chiefs all the information and experience at their disposal and to do this without fear or favour irrespective of whether the advice thus tendered may accord or not with the minister’s initial view. Further it is the civil servants of the department who prepare answers which the minister has to give in Parliament. Again it is often they who prepare the speeches to be delivered by the ministers. Thus all work requiring knowledge and experience is performed by civil servants but the responsibility rests with minister.