Article 311 Of Indian Constitution

article 311 of indian constitution

Many students ask, What is Article 311 of Indian constitution? Among its many provisions, it deals with civil employment.

Article 311 of Indian Constitution enshrines a civil servant’s right to be heard. It provides protection against dismissal at pleasure and acts as a Constitutional guarantee. However, Article 311 does not apply to those who have committed a crime. In such cases, the civil servant will not be protected from dismissal and will be removed without a hearing. The Doctrine of Pleasure does not apply to all government servants, but it certainly applies to public service.

It is a part of the Indian Polity syllabus in exams of Union Civil Services. Here are some examples. Let us say a police officer, a civil servant, or any officer from defense services has been convicted of a crime. He is subsequently pulled out from his post. He may not be allowed to defend himself, but his suspension from service without any inquiry is valid.

What Is Article 311 Of Indian Constitution And Its Clause?

Article 311 addresses provisions relating to the dismissal, withdrawal, or rank reduction of a civil servant employed by the Union of India or a State.

Article 311(1): Anybody in the Union’s civil service, an all-India service, the civil service of a State or civil service or government servant will not be dismissed or withdrawn by any authority subordinate to the one who hired them.

According to Article 311(2), civil servants can’t be removed or withdrawn, or demoted unless they’ve been given a reasonable chance to defend themselves against the action being taken against them.

People Protected under Article 311 

The members of:

  1. All India Service such as Indian Administrative Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Police Service, etc.
  2. Civil service/Public officers of any State,
  3. Union Civil service,
  4. People who hold a civil office under any state or the Union
  5. Only civil servants, i.e. public officers, are covered by Article 311’s protective protections. These protective safeguards are unavailable to the service of people appointed to defense personnel.

Options To Dismissed Employee

A government employee who is fired under these laws may seek justice through tribunals such as the state administrative tribunal, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), the courts, or through competent authority.

Note: To know more about the other article of Indian Constitution, click on the corresponding link of the linked text from the table given below:

1. Article 131 Of Indian Constitution
2. Article 12 Of Indian Constitution
3. Article 356 Of Indian Constitution
4. Article 370 Advantages And Disadvantages

Process Of Departmental Enquiry

The Departmental Enquiry Process is as follows:

  1. Following the appointment of an enquiry officer in a departmental investigation. A formal charge sheet is issued to the civil servant. A civil servant has the option of representing himself or hiring a lawyer in the normal procedure.
  2. During the departmental investigation, witnesses may be called. After that, the investigation officer might write a report and present it to the government for further action under article.

Significance Of Article 311 Of Indian Constitution

The Indian constitution protects civil personnel from arbitrary dismissal. This provision, however, does not apply to defense personnel.

It imposes two limitations on the ‘doctrine of pleasure.’ To put it another way, it protects civil officials from arbitrary dismissal from their jobs in case of justifiable issues [Article 311 clauses (1) and (2)].

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It is crucial to understand the arrangements of Article 311 of the constitution when it comes to civil employment. The first important principle to remember is that arbitrary dismissal from service cannot be justified by a legitimate reason. In addition, a dismissed employee cannot be forced to return to his previous position unless he has resigned from the service.

  1. It helps investigators respond to alleged criminal investigations so that civil servants are not arbitrarily dismissed.
  2. In the three situations that follow, Article 311(2) [holding inquiry] is unavailable:
    • When a person is let go, withdrawn, or demoted in rank on grounds of conduct that resulted in his criminal charge case; or
    • Where the authority entitled to dismiss or withdraw a person or reduce his rank is convinced that it’s not rationally practical to undertake a departmental inquiry for a reason, to be noted in writing by that authority;
    • Where the President or Governor, as is in most cases, is convinced that holding such a detailed inquiry isn’t in the best interests of the state’s security.

What Is The Doctrine Of Pleasure In India?

In India, the doctrine of pleasure is enshrined in Article 310(1) of the Constitution.

  1. Members of a state’s civil service or those holding civil jobs under a state’s jurisdiction also serve at the leisure of the state governor.
  2. Members of the Defence Services, Center Public Services, and All India Services, persons holding military, or civilian positions under the Center shall hold positions under Article 310, during the president’s pleasure.
  3. There is, however, one exception to the general norm of pleasure dismissal.
  4. To secure a person’s services with special qualifications, the President or the governor may provide for the compensation payment to the person in two situations:
    • if the position is removed before the end of the agreement; or 
    • if he should vacate the position on his own accord, which was not related to misconduct.
  5. Notably, a contract such as this can only be negotiated with a newcomer, that is, someone who has never served in the military, an all-India service, the Central civil service, or a state civil service.

The Opportunity Of Being Heard

The right to being heard has a broad application to Indian civil servants in the government.

  1. Originally, a civil servant was given the opportunity to be heard at two stages: the inquiry stage and the punishment stage.
  2. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, however, withdrew the option for a second stage opportunity (which means, for example, a civil servant’s right to submit objections against the punishments proposed in the investigation.)
  3. The Supreme Court held that a civil servant’s reasonable opportunity of being heard (as defined in the second safeguard stated above) includes:  a. an opportunity to decline his guilt and prove his innocence, which is allowed only if he knows what accusations have been brought against him and what allegations have been made against him. b. an opportunity to defend himself by cross-examining witnesses called against him as well as questioning himself or other supporting witnesses of his case; and c. Before considering the report, the disciplinary authority shall provide an inquiry officer report copy to the delinquent public servant for comments and observations.
  1. The Union’s executive power and the states flow down to the president or governor either directly or through other members subordinate to him.
  2. Part XIV of the Indian Constitution deals with Union and State Services.
  3. Article 309 gives Parliament and state legislatures the ability to govern the recruitment and terms of service of persons appointed to public services and offices in relation to the Union’s or any State’s affairs, respectively.
  4. Unless otherwise provided by the Constitution, federal officials act at the discretion of the President under Article 310, and state officials act at the discretion of that particular state Governor. (English doctrine of Pleasure).
  5. However, the government’s power is not absolute.
  6. Government of India (Business Transactions) Rules: These Rules govern how officers are expected to assist the President or Governor in carrying out his or her executive tasks.
  7. Article 311 places limitations on the President’s or Governor’s absolute right to dismiss, remove or reduce an officer’s rank.
  8. Article 312 –Rajya Sabha has the right to set up new branches of IAS by two -third of its majority vote under this article.

Conclusion

Article 311 deals with provisions relating to a civil servant’s dismissal, withdrawal, or rank reduction employed by the Union or a State.

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