Constitution of India
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Doctrine of Pleasure

Introduction

The doctrine of pleasure originated in England. In simple terms, it means that the government has the right to discharge the civil servant working for them any time they want, without giving any prior notice. 

History of Doctrine of Pleasure

The doctrine of pleasure first came to light in the United Kingdom. According to the common law, the duration of employment of any public servant was not fixed, and it was the crown that had the ultimate power to remove. This doctrine was challenged in the case of Shenton v Smith. The Privy Council held that this doctrine was necessary.

In England, the doctrine of pleasure is prevalent. The crown can dismiss the civil servant any time they want and without providing a reason. The civil servant can be dismissed even if employment is given on a contractual basis. The terms of the contract will not bind the crown. The civil servant cannot request the remaining salary from premature termination or any other damage caused by such termination.   

Doctrine of Pleasure In India

In India, the doctrine of pleasure has been in practice for a long time. Part XIV of the constitution deals with the service under the state. The individuals, who are part of Defense services, civil services, and all-India service, serve their term under the discretion of the President, and equivalently, the people employed under state service serve their term under the discretion of the governor. However, the doctrine of pleasure differs from the principles followed in England. Here, the civil servant can file a case against the government if the due amount is not paid. Article 311 provides remedies for the civil servants in case of termination. 

Legal Provision for Doctrine of Pleasure

The provision regarding the doctrine of pleasure is mentioned under the constitution. These include the following:

Article 309 states that the parliament has a right to form laws that govern recruitment. The President also has the power to rules regarding such recruitment. The President is the head of the country as has the same powers as the crown, so he can remove any civil servant as he thinks fit. This power to make rule also include the power to amend the rules but the amendment should not be in contravention of the constitutional provisions. The parliament does not have to take the consent of the civil servants to amend the rules. The benefits enjoyed by the civil servants during their tenure cannot be taken away from them after their retirement, in the case of D.S. Garewal v State of Punjab and Another, the Supreme Court held that the terms of the service should be amended from time to time if there is an urgent need for it. 

Doctrine of Pleasure
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Article 310 states the rules regarding the duration of the person serving union or the state services. These services include 

  • Member of defense services
  • Civil service under union 
  • Member of the All India service
  • Holding any post connected with the defense or any civil post under the union

The person, who holds any post under the union, shall serve during the pleasure of the President, and the person, who holds the post of any civil servant under the state, shall serve during the pleasure of the governor. The civil servant can be removed from the office without giving any reason, but if the removal restrains the fundamental rights without any proper reason, it can be challenged in court. The doctrine of pleasure cannot be restrained by the legislation but only by the exceptions mentioned in the constitution. 

Article 310 (2) states that a civil servant will be provided with compensation if he is removed from the post if there is a special contract that specifically mentions compensation if the civil servant is terminated from the post before the compulsory period of employment. This sub-clause does not apply to the members of defense services, members of all Indian service, and the civil services of union or state. In this clause, the compensation is only paid when the contract is terminated before completing the mandatory term of employment. The person given such contracts is specially qualified persons.  

Remedies Given To Civil Servants

The civil servants are given specific remedies under article 311. These remedies are given to the civil servants so that they can do their jobs without the fear of being removed illegally. The remedies provided under this article are

  • NO DISMISSAL BY SUBORDINATE AUTHORITY states that no subordinate authority can remove a civil servant from his service. The authority that employed the person to that post will be the one that can remove that person. If such removal is done by subordinate authority, it will not be valid.
  • REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT THE CASE- As mentioned in clause 2 of article 311, the civil servant can only be removed after the inquiry is completed where the charges against such civil servant have been communicated and he/she had a reasonable opportunity of being heard and present their case in respect of those charges. 

There are exceptions to the protections provided in the clause (1) and (2) which are 

  • If the civil servant has been convicted on a criminal charge. The civil servant will not be given a reasonable opportunity to present his/her case before termination from the service. The disciplinary authority will also decide whether such conviction will also lead to a fine being imposed. The authority will have to refer to the court’s judgment, the nature of the charge, the repercussion on the office, and other factors if any. 
  • If the disciplinary committee thinks holding an inquiry is impracticable. The authority will record in writing the reason for not holding the inquiry. This power should be used after serious consideration, as the right to be heard is being denied.
  • If the President or the governor decides not to hold an inquiry for security reasons. If holding an inquiry threatens national security, then such inquiry should not be held. An actual threat may not be present, but the satisfaction of the President or the governor will prevail. 

Conclusion

Civil servants serve a vital function in the working of the government. To make sure they work efficiently, the government enjoys the doctrine of pleasure. This makes sure that the civil servants who fail to perform their duties are removed, and the government can function properly and effectively. 

Animesh Sharma

Animesh Sharma is from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He has completed B.A. LL.B (Hons) from Manipal University Jaipur. He like to play football, listen to music, play piano, play games.

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