Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

What is the Doctrine of Pleasure?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Doctrine of Pleasure

Mains level: Not Much

The Kerala Governor has sought dismissal of a minister from the Cabinet, declaring that he has withdrawn the pleasure of having him in the Council of Ministers.

Doctrine of Pleasure: The concept behind

  • The pleasure doctrine is a concept derived from English common law.
  • It says is that a civil servant of the Crown holds office during the pleasure of the Crown.
  • This means his services can be terminated at any time by the Crown, without assigning any reason.

How is it practised in India?

  • In India, Article 310 of the Constitution says every person in the defence or civil service of the Union holds office during the pleasure of the President.
  • Similarly, every member of the civil service in the States holds office during the pleasure of the Governor.
  • However, Article 311 imposes restrictions on the removal of a civil servant.

How arbitrary is this doctrine?

  • It provides for civil servants being given a reasonable opportunity for a hearing on the charges against them.
  • There is also a provision to dispense with the inquiry if it is not practicable to hold one, or if it is not expedient to do so in the interest of national security.
  • In practical terms, the pleasure of the President referred to here is that of the Union government, and the Governor’s pleasure is that of the State government.

Is the governor entitled to exercise his/her displeasure?

  • Under Article 164, the Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor; and the other Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the CM’s advice.
  • It adds that Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
  • In a constitutional scheme in which they are appointed solely on the CM’s advice, the ‘pleasure’ referred to is also taken to mean the right of the CM to dismiss a Minister, and not that of the Governor.

Why in news now?

Ans. Issue over appointment of Vice-Chancellor

  • The latest controversy has arisen after the Governor sought the resignation of several vice-chancellors following a Supreme Court judgment.
  • The V-C’s appointment of a technical university was contrary to the regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • The appointment Committee had identified only one candidate and recommended the name to the Chancellor for appointment.
  • However, under UGC regulations, a panel of three to five names should be recommended so that the Chancellor has a number of options to choose from.

How is Governor involved in this?

  • The Governor, in his capacity as Chancellor of universities, responded by directing the V-Cs of nine universities to resign the very next day.
  • He contended that the infirmities pointed out by the Supreme Court in one case also vitiated their appointments.



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