Skip navigation


Dec. 11, 2020   •   Madri Chandak

Profile of the Author: Mudit Saxena is a third-year student pursuing integrated BBA+LLB from School of law Galgotias University.


The doctrine of Pleasure refers to the competence of the King or the Queen (hereinafter referred as the crown) to dismiss any Civil Servant without any justification or a notice of termination i.e. the civil servant can only hold the office till the Crown is pleased. The civil servant whenever fired cannot challenge the profession of the Crown or guarantee for harms and is stand to follow it. Subsequently, the entire duration for which a civil servant hold his/her office altogether relies on the pleasure of the Crown which is the reason it is known as the doctrine of pleasure. Subsequently, the term of the government worker is not fixed. This doctrine is set up on the philosophy of public strategy, for example, the government employee whose demonstration the Crown does not finds acceptable towards the interest of the public then that official cannot hold the position.


The underlying foundations of this doctrine lie in England where it began. It is an advantage that the British Crown appreciates. The origin of this doctrine can also be found the Latin phrases like “durante bene placito” and “durante bene placito regis” meaning during good pleasure and during the good pleasure of the King respectively. The Doctrine is completely founded on the privilege of the Crown and the King can do no wrong. The relationship of the Crown with the workers is one-sided. In its different decisions also the Privy Council has perceived the doctrine of pleasure as a need. [1]

The Doctrine of Pleasure came and set up in India with the ingress of the East India Company. As the realm of the Company extended and turned into the incomparable force, this principle came into power and new measurements were likewise added to this tenet. The East India Company had the ability to eliminate any government employee as well as any worker under this tenet. Regardless of the organization being the preeminent force in British India, the Crown had a definitive force and could eliminate any government worker named by it in the East India Company. The East India Company has consolidated this precept in very Charter brought by them (from 1833). This doctrine was later brought and perceived in British India by the Government of India Act, 1935 under Section 240.



The worker consistently holds the office under the total pleasure of the Crown with no fixed term. The Crown views a definitive force for example it might even eliminate a government employee on the off chance that he/she is selected on legally binding premise and no harms will be paid by the crown. The Crown can eliminate the local official which it itself chooses. Under this doctrine the Crown have the force and any demonstration done while practising this precept, cannot be challenged.


India has arrogated the doctrine of pleasure like different laws of Common Law. This doctrine is revered under Article 310 of the Constitution of India. Despite the fact that the regulation has been acknowledged in India, however, its usefulness isn't acknowledged in its actual structure for example this precept doesn't work a similar way it does in England. In India, the idea the King can do no wrong is not followed and henceforth, the civil servants are given some defence under Article 311 of the Constitution of India. This implies that in India the connection between the top of the State and the government employee isn't one-sided hence, the worker can sue the demonstration done while practising this tenet. In India, this principle is dependent upon impediments forced by the Constitution itself.

The Article 310 (1) states that “Except as expressly provided by this Constitution, every person who is a member of a defence service or of a civil service of the Union or of an all India service or holds any post connected with defence or any civil post under the Union, holds office during the pleasure of the President, and every person who is a member of a civil service of a State or holds any civil post under a State holds office during the pleasure of the Governor of the State”. Hereby the terms “except as expressly provided” Hereby the terms “except as expressly provided” indicates that this doctrine is not absolute as in England and British India. Supreme Court Judges, Auditor General, High Court Judges, Members of Public Service Commission, Chief Election Commission are the exempted class from the doctrine of pleasure under the constitutional limitations as expressed under Article 310(1).

In India, cessation of a civil servant is not an individual right of the President or the Governor. The cessation of a civil servant is dependent upon the provisos of Article 311 of the Constitution of India.


  • The contract between the civil servant and the executive can be implemented if the cessation is subjective.
  • The activities are done while practising the force offered by this doctrine under Article 310 can be tested for being disregarding the Fundamental Rights of the worker. The doctrine can't be disregard the major rights being ensured under Article 14, 15 and 16(1).
  • As referenced above Supreme Court Judges, Auditor General, High Court Judges, Members of Public Service Commission, Chief Election Commission are the excluded class from the doctrine of pleasure under the Constitutional restrictions as communicated under Article 310(1).
  • Article 311 likewise forces limitations on this doctrine in India.


Supreme Court of India in its decision of S. L. Agrawal v. General Manager, Hindustan Steel Limited [2] featured the individuals who can guarantee for safeguard under Article 311. The constitutional bench distinguished the accompanying who can guarantee for the safeguard under Article 311:

  • Member of Civil Servant of Union,
  • Member of Civil Servant of State,
  • An All India Servant

Later on account of State of Assam v. Kanak Chandra Dutta [3], the Apex court expressed that defence worker and other workers past the common administrations are excluded from Article 311. The Supreme Court included ad hoc workers too under Article 311 (Parshottam Lal Dhingra v. Association of India [4]).

The Supreme Court on account of Union of India v. Tulsi Ram Patel [5] laid accentuation on the sensibility behind the termination of a worker and mandated the departmental enquiry.

There have been cases whereby the Supreme Court has not followed the tenet and has given a decision against it; be it the judgment of Om Prakash v. State of UP [6], Jaswant Singh v. State of Punjab [7] or Union of India v. Balbir Singh [8]. This plainly demonstrates that the tenet is not outright in India for what it's worth in England.



In England, the doctrine is absolute in nature whereas, in India, it is not absolute and is subject to constitutional limitations.


Unlike India, the actions while exercising the power under this doctrine cannot be challenged in a court of law in England.


In England, It is applicable to all civil servants appointed by the Crown. In India, it is applicable to everyone civil servant except Supreme Court Judges, Auditor General, High Court Judges, Members of Public Service Commission and Chief Election Commission.


Unlike India, in England, If a civil servant is appointed via a contract then even the servant can be terminated and the contract holds no value.


In England, the relation between the servant and the Crown is unilateral. The relation is NOT unilateral in India.

Disclaimer: This article is an original submission of the Author. Niti Manthan does not hold any liability arising out of this article. Kindly refer to our Terms of use or write to us in case of any concerns.


[1] Shenton v. Smith, 1895 AC 229 (PC)

[2] 1970 AIR 1150

[3] 1967 AIR 884

[4] 1958 AIR 36

[5] 1985 AIR 1416

[6] AIR 1960 SC 409

[7] 1958 AIR 124

[2]AIR 1998 SC 2043

Liked the article ?
Share this: