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 Common law doctrine

 It is a historical rule of common law that a public servant under the British Crown had no
fixed tenure, but held his/her position at the absolute discretion of the Crown.
 Durante bene placito- during good pleasure
 Durante bene placito regis- during good pleasure of king
 No need to assign any reason for termination, terminated employee cannot claim arrear in
 Dunn v. R
o Court of Appeal in England confirmed the Doctrine of Pleasure
o Doctrine of pleasure is based on the concept of public policy/public interest
 Art 310 of Indian Constitution
o Members of defence services, civil services of Union & States, All India Services,
civil members of defence forces hold office during the pleasure of President or
Governor as the case may be
o It is a rule of constitutional doctrine pertaining to the tenure of service
 Limitations on the Doctrine of Pleasure
o Art 311
o Fundamental Rights
o Holders of specified offices- Judges of Supreme Court, High Court etc.
o Consultation with Public Service Commission in disciplinary matters
o Public servants cannot be forced to work against his will post his superannuation
 Pleasure needs not be exercised by the President/Governor personally- It being an
executive power may be exercised on the aid and advice of Council of Ministers. (UOI
vs. Tulsiram Patel)
 Motiram vs. N.E.F Railway
o Supreme Court virtually aabolished the doctrine of pleasure and held that a govt.
servant could continue in office till superannuation
 Challappan case
o Imposition of penalty without holding an inquiry was unconstitutional and illegal
o A public servant has 2 remedies- Departmental Appeal and Judicial Review
o Overruled in Tulsiram case
 Tulsiram case
o Watershed moment in the jurisprudence of doctrine of pleasure
o When the PNJ has expressly been excluded, it cannot be imported by resorting to
Art 14


 Appointment on the civil side of administration
 Does not include civilians working on civil posts in defence forces
 State of UP vs. A.N Singh
o Person holds civil post if:
 there exist a master-servant relationship
 relationship is established if the state has right to select and appoint the
 right to control the manner and method of his working
 payment by wage or remuneration


 Art 311
 Mahesh vs. State of UP
o It is not necessary that the removal or dismissal must be by the same authority
who made the appointment or by his direct superior
o It is enough if the removing authority is of the same or co-ordinate rank as the
appointing authority


 Parshottam lal Dhingra vs. UOI

o Test to determine whether the termination was by way of punishment:
 Whether the servant had a right to hold that post
 Whether he has been visited with evil consequences
o No right to post if appointed in officiating capacity- If terminated- Does not
amount to punishment- No safeguards available under 311
o Evil consequence- If it entails or provides the forfeiture of his pay or allowance,
or the stoppage or postponement of his future chances of promotion
 Khem Chand vs. UOI
o Reasonable opportunity under Art 311 includes the following:
 Specific charges must be framed and communicated to the servant
 Opportunity to deny his guilt and establish his innocence
 Opportunity to defend by cross examining the witnesses
 Opportunity to make representation as to why punishment should not be
inflicted – Deleted by 42nd Amendment
 S Pratap vs State of Punjab
o Adequacy of the evidence in support of the findings of the enquiry officer is not a
matter for the Court to examine
o Courts will interfere if the enquiry is based on extraneous considerations or mala
 State of Punjab vs. Bhagat Ram
o Synopsis of statement of witness was given to the delinquent servant
o Invalid
o Unfair and unjust to deny the govt. servant copies of statements of witnesses
examined during investigation
o A synopsis does not fulfill the requirement of giving the servant reasonable
opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken
 U.P Government vs. Sabir Hussain
o Broad test of reasonable opportunity- Whether the servant was provided with
enough materials to properly defend himself
 Managing Director, ECIL vs.Karunakar
o Right to receive enquiry report if enquiry officer and disciplinary authority are
o Denial will not ipso factor render the proceeding invalid
o If prejudice has been caused – then only proceeding will be invalid
o Copy should be given even if service rule does not provide for that


 Parshottam lal Dhingra vs. UOI

o Art 311 is available even to temporary employees or employee holding temporary
o No distinction between temporary and permanent employee
 State of Punjab vs. Sukh Raj Bahadur
o Services of temporary servants or probationer may be terminated without
following Art 311
o Circumstances will have to be examined in each case- Motive is immaterial
o If order entails some evil consequences or some aspersion has been casted against
his character or integrity then Art 311 is available
o If full-fledged enquiry has been done- Art 311 is available
 Nepal Singh vs. State of UP
o Termination on the ground of corruption without following Art 311
o Liable to be set aside
 Kanhailal vs. Districy Judge
o Termination on the ground of negligence without following Art 311
o Not valid


 A premature retirement of a government servant in ‘public interest’ does not caste a

stigma on him and no element is involved in it- No application of Art 311
 Object is to weed out the dead wood in order to maintain efficiency and initiative in the
service and also to dispense with the services of those whose integrity is doubtful in order
to maintain purity in the administration
 Compulsory retirement differs both from dismissal and removal as it involves no penal
 Shyam Lal vs. State of UP
o Compulsory retirement does not amount to dismissal or removal as it carries no
element of charge or imputation
o Not violative of Art 311 if exercised bona fide and in public interest
 UOI vs. J.N Sinha
o If the government has formed its opinion bona fide in the public interest, then its
correctness cannot be challenged in the court of law
 UOI vs. M.E Reddy
o It may amount to dismissal or removal if the authority has not formed the opinion
bona fide or the opinion is based on collateral grounds or arbitrary decision – Can
be challenged before the Court of law
 Baikunth Nath vs. Chief Medical Officer
o An order of punishment is not a punishment. It implies no stigma
o The order of compulsory retirement is passed on the subjective satisfaction of the
o PNJ has no place in the context of compulsory retirement
o However, Courts can interfere if the order is passed mala fide or there is no
evidence or if it is arbitrary
o Government shall have to consider the entire record f service before taking a
decision in the matter particularly during the later years record and performance
 State of Gujarat vs. Umedbhai Patel
o The order of compulsory retirement shall not be passed as a short cut to avoid
departmental inquiry when such course is more desirable
o Compulsory retirement shall not be imposed as a punitive measure
o When the services of a public servant are no longer useful to the general
administration, the officer can be compulsorily retired for the sake of public
o Adverse entries in the service record, un-communicated entries in the confidential
record etc. may be taken into consideration while passing order for compulsory
 K Nagraj vs. State of AP
o Super-annuation was reduced from 58 to 55
o Termination of service due to compulsory retirement does not amount to his
removal from service within the meaning of Art 311

 It means reduction from higher to lower post or rank and not merely losing place in rank
or cadre
 Punjab Police vss. Kishan Das
o Policce constable- Chargesheet for arrogance and indiscipline- Entire service was
forfeited- Salary came down to the level of freshly recruited constable
o Order did not amount to reduction in rank
o For punishment of forfeiture of approved service resulting in loss of higher salary
or reduction in the changes of promotion to higher services, remedy would be
available under the Service Rules
 Debesh Chandra vs. UOI
o Chief Secretary of Assam-Appointed as Secretary in central government-He was
asked to choose between the reversion to old cadre and retirement
o Contended that order was stigma and amounted to reduction in rank under Art
o Reduction in rank as post of secretary in central government was higher post with
additional perks and emoluments
 State of Mysore vs. M.K Godgoli
o Clerk- Posted at a higher posst in officiating post- Subsequently reverted to
original post
o No reduction in rank
o Person officiating in a post has no right to hold it for all times
 Sukh Bansh Singh vs. State of Punjab
o Suspension of government servant from service is neither dismissal or removal
nor reduction in rank
o Suspended employee cannot claim the protection under Art 311



 Conviction must be one which has been imposed upon the delinquent servant during the
course of and not prior to the appointment in question
 State of M.P vs. Hazarilal
o Peon assaulted Ram Singh- Prossecuted for voluntary causing hurt- Initially 1
month imprisonment- Commuted to Rs. 500 fine on appeal- Dismissed from
service without following Art 311(2)
o Conviction on criminal charge does not mean that irrespective of the nature of the
case or punishment which has been imposed, an order of dismissal must be passed
o Doctrine of proportionality was applied
 Shankar Das vs. UOI
o Servant could not deposit the fine amount in court due to compelling
circumstance-Magistrate passed an order that he should be dealt under Probation
of Offenders Act- Dismissed from service
o Servant was dismissed without the application of mind to penalty


 Satisfaction of authority in writing that holding enquiry under Art 311(2) is not
practically possible
 Jaswant Singh vs. State of Punjab
o Dismissed from service- Without enquiry- Impractical to hold enquiry as the
appellant has given threats that he would allow departmental proceeding to
o The decision to dispense with the departmental enquiry cannot be rested solely on
the ipse dixit of the concerned authority
o When satisfaction is questioned in the court of law, it is the duty of the authority
to show that the satisfaction is based on certain objective facts and not the
outcome of whims and fancies of the authority
o Order of dismissal was set aside
 UOI vs. Tulsiram Patel
o Charges in the criminal case must relate to a misconduct such magnitude as would
have deserved the punishment
o A conviction on criminal charge does not automatically entail dismissal etc. of the
govt. servant- Authority to consider case in lighting of doctrine of proportionality
o Authority must exercise the power fairly, justly and reasonably while deciding
the penalty
o Supreme Court would not sit in judgment in the relevancy of reasons given by the
Authority for not holding enquiry
o It is not total or absolute impracticability which is required – Test of reasonable
man test will have to be testified
o The Disciplinary Authority must not dispense with the enquiry lightly or
arbitrarily or out of ulterior motive
o The reasons of the D.A for dispensing with the inquiry need not contain detailed
particular- Reason must not be vague
o Decision of D.A is final- Court to interfere only in certain circumstances


 On the satisfaction of President/Governor that holding of enquiry is not in the interest of

security of state