Because the Civil Services were established in India during British rule,
those nations' rules and regulations were also applied there in accordance with
local requirements. After India gained its independence, the civil services
received constitutional status.
Indian law is still heavily influenced by English law. One of these ideas that
the British brought to India during their control is the theory of pleasure.
According to this idea, government employees were seen as the crown's servants
who performed their duties at their whim.
Meaning Of Doctrine Of Pleasure
This idea was developed in England, as was previously noted. In England, the
civil services are considered to be a part of the Executive, with the Crown
serving as its head. According to the theory of pleasure, the Crown has the
authority to fire a civil worker at any moment without providing the employee
with a notice of termination.
Therefore, they serve at the discretion of the Crown, which has the authority to
fire them at any time. When public servants are terminated from their
employment, they are not entitled to pursue legal action against the Crown for
wrongful termination or seek compensation for their losses.
Position Of Doctrine Of Pleasure In India
In India, the doctrine of pleasure is also practiced. According to this idea,
the President of India has the authority to dismiss a civil servant at any time
because he serves as the Executive Head of the Union and holds the same status
as the Crown in England.
While this philosophy has been adopted in India, it has not been slavishly
reproduced in the same way that it is practised in England, and there are some
differences between this doctrine as adopted in India and as practiced in
England. The provision for this theory in India is embodied in Article 310 of
the Indian Constitution.
In accordance with Article 310, public servants employed by the Union serve at
the discretion of the President, while those employed by States serve at the
pleasure of the Governor of those States, subject to any stipulations made by
- Judges of the Supreme Court
- Judges of the High Court
- Chief Election Commissioner
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India
This concept is therefore subject to constitutional provisions and not
infallible. Because they are given some protection by Article 311, the
government servants may likewise be exempt from the application of this theory,
and its scope may thus be restricted to them only.
Constitutional Safeguards For Civil Servants
In addition to being given constitutional standing under Article 308, civil
officials also receive some degree of protection under Article 311. By giving
these protections to civil servants, the public's trust in the civil services is
preserved, and the civil servants are given the confidence that they can
honestly perform their tasks without worrying that they will be removed from
their position in violation of this philosophy.
According to Article 311 of the Constitution, a civil servant is entitled to the
No dismissal by subordinate authority:
A government servant may only be dismissed from his position in accordance with
Clause 1 of Article 311 by the authority that appointed him or another
individual who has the same power or status. Therefore, anyone who is below the
hiring authority in terms of authority cannot dismiss a civil servant, and if
they do, the removal will be invalid.
An example would be A, a government employee hired by C. C's subordinate B
dismisses A from his position. Because B did not hold the same position of
authority or rank as C in this case, the removal will not be legal (the
appointing authority). However, if D, who has equal authority to C, removes A,
then removal will be recognized by Article 311's Clause 1.
The opportunity of Being Heard:
The civil servants have the right to an audience under Clause 2 of Article 311.
Due to the opportunity it provides the civil worker to establish his innocence,
this privilege exemplifies the idea of natural justice.
According to this Clause, the following procedures must be performed in order
to remove a civil worker from his position:
- Launching an investigation into the claims made against the civil
servant. This investigation is a departmental investigation;
- letting the accused civil servant know the charges that have been
brought against him;
- Giving a reasonable opportunity for the government servant in question
to be heard in court.
Because the civil servant is given a justifiable opportunity to be heard thanks
to this protection, it is crucial. The phrase "fair opportunity" is mentioned in
the sentence, although its definition is not provided. It appears to be
ambiguous protection when the definition of "reasonable opportunity" is not
clarified because there is no way to tell whether a civil servant received a
reasonable opportunity or not.
As a result, the definition of reasonable opportunity has been interpreted in
accordance with the concepts of natural justice. Therefore, a reasonable
opportunity is one in which the accused is given the chance to present his side
of the story in an effort to refute the accusations made against him.
He should also have the opportunity to:
- Present his reasons to the organisation conducting the investigation;
- Making his testimony comments;
- Take note of the testimony of the people who have accused him;
- Examine the witnesses in detail.
A civil servant will be given this opportunity, and the condition that he be
given a reasonable opportunity will be met.
An example might be A, a civil servant who has been accused of corruption. A
departmental investigation is launched to look into this situation and determine
whether or not A is guilty. However, A is not made aware of any of the
accusations levelled against him, and he has not been given the slightest chance
to refute these claims or offer supporting documentation.
Without hearing from A, the investigation determines that A is guilty, and as a
result, A is demoted from his position. A may contest such removal in court, and
the court will rule that the departmental investigation was invalid and that A's
removal was invalid because it violated the terms of Article 311 Clause 2.
Who is entitled to these safeguards?
Although those who work for the government are given these protections, not all
government employees are eligible to use them. As a result, only specific
individuals are entitled to protection under the terms of Article 311.
Under the terms of Article 311, the following people have the right to
The members of:
- All India Service
- Union Civil Service and State Civil Service.
- Those who are employed by the Union or any State in a civil capacity.
By using the term "civil services," it has been made plain that the military
personnel are not considered to be employees for purposes of the Constitution's
protections for civil servants. In the case of Purshottam Lal Dhingra v.
Union of India
, it was determined that both continuously engaged and
temporarily employed civil officials are covered by the protections granted to
them under Article 311.
What are the limitations of this protection?
Although Article 311 of the Constitution guarantees protection for their
interests, there are several exceptions to this rule. The concerned public
worker cannot make a claim for protection when one of these exceptions occurs in
a case. The exceptions include the following:
The protection provided by Article 311 cannot be used in situations when the
civil servant has been convicted of a crime; in these situations, he may be
dismissed for mis behaviour without having the opportunity to be heard.
A is a civil official who was found guilty of a crime under the IPC by a court.
When an investigation into the allegations against him is conducted, he might
not be given the opportunity to be heard and may be dismissed, which would not
constitute a breach of article 311. He could also be dismissed without
conducting an inquiry, and such dismissal would still be legal.
The disciplinarian in charge of investigating the claims made against the
government servant has the authority to decide not to conduct an investigation
if he believes it would be impractical. The scope of this exception was
described in the case of Union of India and Another vs. Tulsiram Patel and
Others on July 11,1985. The Court said that the viewpoint of a reasonable man
must be utilised to assess whether conducting the inquiry would be impractical.
The failure to conduct such an inquiry will not constitute a breach of Article
311 if a reasonable man in this situation believes that doing so is impractical.
Reasons relating to the state's security constitute the final exclusion from the
protection provided by Article 311. The President and the Governor, as the case
may be, have the authority to use this prerogative, and they may halt an
investigation at any time if they are of the opinion that it will not advance
the security of the State. In this case, the President or Governor's contentment
with the risk of a security threat is sufficient to invoke this exception
without regard to any real harm to security.
In this case, the President or Governor's contentment with the risk of a
security threat is sufficient to invoke this exception without regard to any
real harm to security. Due to the subjective nature of contentment and the fact
that what one person may perceive as a threat may not be shared by another, this
exemption appears to be a flaw in the protection provided to federal officials.
In order to solve this issue, the Government must tell the Court about the
nature of the civil servant's activity that forms the foundation of the
President's or Governor's satisfaction. If the Court determines that the reason
is pertinent, the exception will be permitted; however, if the reason is
unsatisfactory or the government fails to provide the court with this
information, the court will not uphold the validity of the civil servant's
removal, and this exception will not be applied in such a case.
What part does the Indian legal system play in the doctrine of pleasure?
By carrying out its duty as the interpreter of laws, the judiciary plays a
crucial role in India. Although the idea of pleasure was adapted from English
law, the judiciary has issued its opinions regarding the applicability of this
doctrine in India through a number of cases.
The law governing the maintainability of a claim by the civil servant regarding
salary arrears was decided by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Bihar
v. Abdul Majid
. In England, it was the law that a servant could not bring a
claim against the Crown for unpaid wages. In this instance, the same was argued.
A sub-inspector who had been discharged from his position due to cowardice was
He initiated a lawsuit to recoup his wage arrears, but the government argued
that he was barred from doing so under the doctrine of enjoyment. The
sub-inspector had the right to request the arrears of his salary because the
Supreme Court ruled that this regulation would not be applicable in India.
In a similar vein, the Court rendered a decision regarding another crucial
aspect of the doctrine of enjoyment. In the case of Union of India v. Balbir
Singh, it was decided that the Court had the authority to assess the Governor's
or President's level of satisfaction.
If the court determines that the satisfaction is based on reasons that are
unrelated to the security of the state, it may declare the satisfaction to be
irrelevant and extraneous and declare the dismissal of the government servant to
Although the idea of pleasure was adapted from the British legal system, it has
been changed to fit the Indian setting in accordance with the country's current
social structure. The judiciary's ability to conduct judicial reviews has been
crucial in balancing this doctrine's arbitrary elements.
India elects its executive head through elections, but England has a Monarch as
the executive head. Therefore, the adage "The King can do no wrong" is
inappropriate for the situation in India. Despite judicial intervention, the
protection's exceptions are still subject to abuse.
Therefore, it would be preferable if specific rules were specified that must be
followed in order to qualify for these exceptions rather than analyzing each and
every case of arbitrariness. If these rules are not followed, the dismissal may
be deemed illegitimate, giving the party who was wronged quick relief.