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A Critical Analysis Of The Doctrine Of Pleasure And Its Relevance And Suitability In The Modern era

By Abhishek Vishwanath, School of Law, CHRIST(Deemed to be University).*


In England, the usual rule is that a Civil Servant of the Crown retains office during the Crown's leisure. This means that, without assigning any justification, the Crown may terminate a civil servant's services at any time. And if the Crown has an employment contract, the Crown is not bound by the latter. This is known as the Doctrine of Pleasure. With the advent of the British in India, the same patronage system prevalent in England was introduced. Public servants could be terminated at the pleasure of the directors of the English East India Company. This evolved as the doctrine of pleasure in India and found its place in several colonial legislation enacted in India. Even after the power transfer to the Crown in 1858, this system continued to be in practice since none of the legislations placed any restrictions on exercising power under the doctrine. Only in 1919, with the passage of the Government of India act, changes were made to impose restrictions on the use of the doctrine. The doctrine is of English origin and was adopted in the Indian regime during British rule. Since the system of government in England and India are contrastingly different – India being a democratic republic), theoretically, the doctrine would be inapplicable in the Indian context. Nevertheless, it finds a place in the Indian Constitution under articles 310 and 311. The extent of applicability and validity will be examined in the paper. Besides, it is also interesting to see how a doctrine that envisages arbitrary enforcement of the might of the Executive by terminating services of any civil servant at its will found its way into the Constitution, a document that upholds the supremacy of the Rule of Law. Therefore, it becomes pertinent to understand the true essence in which the drafters of our Constitution intended to introduce the doctrine of pleasure. This paper attempts to study the same by analysing several Indian case laws and comparing the working nature of the doctrine in India and England to examine the relevance and suitability of the doctrine of pleasure in the modern Indian context.

Keywords: Constitution, Doctrine of Pleasure, Article 310, Article 311.


* The author is a third-year student pursuing B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) from School of Law, CHRIST (Deemed to be University).

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Journal Details
Abbreviation: NLR 

ISSN:   2582-8479 (O)

Year of Starting: 2020

Place: New Delhi, India

Accessibility: Open Access

Peer Reviewer: Double Blind



​All research articles published in NLR and are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited.

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