Doctrine of Pleasure

An English common law principle states that a monarch's civil servant keeps his job and benefits from it for the term of the monarch's pleasure. The doctrine of pleasure is founded on public policy, and whenever the Crown feels that a civil servant should be relieved of their duties because staying in that capacity would be contrary to public policy, it may do so. The doctrine of pleasure is a common law principle that is granted by the Indian Constitution. The same rule also holds true for India.

What is Doctrine of Pleasure?

According to the Doctrine of Pleasure, the Crown has the right to revoke a civil servants employment at any time without giving them any advance notice. Hence, government employees work at the will of the monarch, who has the power to fire them at any time.

When a public servant is terminated, they are not entitled to file a claim against the Crown for wrongful termination or compensation for losses sustained as a result of the termination.

What is Doctrine of Pleasure under Constitution?

The theory of pleasure is covered by Article 311 of the Indian Constitution. According to this article, no civil servant may be dismissed without cause under the following circumstances −

  • No civil servant may be fired by a higher authority than that which brought him into the position.

  • An investigation must be started, and the civil servant must be given a fair chance to be heard.

Case of Doctrine of Pleasure

L.N. Keshri v. Divisional Superintendent, Eastern Railway (1974), in this case, it was found to be illegal to lower the wage of a confirmed government worker without first giving him the opportunity to be heard. The court determined that a confirmed employee is entitled to their job and pay grade and that neither can be changed without adhering to Article 311's procedure (2).

Exceptions of Doctrine of Pleasure

The doctrine of pleasure is subject to other specific provisions of the Constitution, as stated plainly by the phrase save as expressly specified by the Constitution found in Article 310(1). Where the constitution expressly calls for guaranteed tenure that differs from that described in Article 310, Article 310(1) will not apply, and those employees are thus exempt. Constitutionally guaranteed tenure is granted to the following individuals −

  • Judges of the High Court and Supreme Court (Articles 124 and 217, respectively);

  • The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (Articles 148);

  • The Chairperson, and Members of the Public Service Commission (Article 317)

  • The Chief Election Commissioner, (Article 324)

Limitations of Doctrine of Pleasure

The doctrine of pleasure has been imported from England, but it is not practiced exactly as it is there. Constitutional clauses may impose restrictions on the theory. The word "unless" used in Article 310 makes it clear that an Indian public servant may file a lawsuit against the state for unpaid wages.

  • However, the Supreme Court of India ruled in T. R. Rangarajan v. Govt. of India that no public employee has the right to strike, either morally or legally, and that if a member of the civil service felt wronged by a government action or the actions of one of its organs, they could seek redress from the proper court or tribunal.

Nevertheless, a public employee cannot be fired unless they follow the guidelines outlined in Article 309, the process outlined in Article 311(2), and the Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution. A public employee may also use the doctrine of pleasure to force their own termination for the public good if they become 50 or have worked 25 years in the position. Although a public employee has the option to retire voluntarily, the government does reserve the right to retire them against their will. A civil service position may also be abolished by the government; however, if this right is used improperly, it may be challenged in court.


The executive branch of the government is regarded as its foundation. The executive, which encompasses a sizable portion of our population, lays the groundwork, while the legislative is undoubtedly in charge of the nation's documentation. Every civil servant serves the government, and because of this relationship, they are obligated to maintain their positions, ranks, and the authority that comes with them for as long as the government desires.

However, improper application of the doctrine of pleasure can harm the relationship between the legislature and the executive branch; as a result, the rule of pleasure should only be used sparingly and in extreme circumstances, such as when the State is in danger or when it is being violated by public policy. The idea of pleasure in India differs from that of England in this way because the Constitution itself has safeguards to prevent the executive from being taken advantage of by its heads.


Q1. Which article introduced doctrine of pleasure?

Ans. According to Article 310 of the Indian Constitution, each member of the Union's defense or civil service serves at the pleasure of the President, and each employee of a state's civil service serves at the discretion of the Governor.

Q2. What is the origin of doctrine of pleasure?

Ans. In English law, the doctrine of pleasure first emerged. An official of the Crown must serve during the pleasure of the Crown, according to English morality. This means that the Crown has the right to terminate his services at any moment and without giving a reason.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


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