In the Parshotam Dhingra case, the interpretation of Articles 310 and 311 of the Constitution has been discussed. The case revolved under the Service law section, where the civil servant or permanent servant serving under Union or the State holds the post with given protection and tenure under Article 310 and 311 of the constitution. The underlying principle embodied in Article 310 is based on Doctrine of pleasure adopted from English Common law system.
CASE TITLE – PARSHOTTAM LAL DHINGRA V. UNION OF INDIA
CITATION – AIR 1959 SC 36
APPELLANT – PARSHOTTAM LAL DHINGRA
RESPONDENT – UNION OF INDIA
BENCH – DAS, SUDHI RANJAN(CJ),AIYYAR.T.L.VENKATRAMA,DAS,S.K.,SARKAR,A.K.,BOS,VIVIAN
Table of Contents
The Parshotam Lal Dhingra case is related to Service law Jurisprudence of India. The case covers the interpretation of Articles 310 and 311 of the Indian Constitution related to persons serving under the Union or State. In the instant case, the Appellant ranking was reduced from Class II post to Class III due to the adverse remarks contained in the report were revealed. Later, the question evolved was whether Article 311(2) provides safeguards to employees in case of reduction in ranking or not.
- The appellant began working for the railways in 1924 as a signaller. After being chosen, he was promoted to the positions of Section Controller in 1942 and Deputy Chief Controller in 1950, all of which are within the III Class Railway Services. Later, Shri Ram’s position was taken over by the appellant Mr. Parshotam Lal, who had been appointed as the official chief controller for the II Class Railway service category.
- Later, the S.S.T.E.I. headquarters’ Sri Gauri Shankar made a disparaging comment in Sri Dingra’s secret character book, which was supported by a high-ranking officer. As a result, General Manager (Railway) Sri. Karnail Singh reduced the appellant’s rank to that of the Class III category’s previous post and declared that his reduction would not affect his subsequent promotion.
- Further, Appellant made an appeal to the General Manager for reconsideration of his order but his appeal was dismissed.
- In the meantime, the appellant submitted a writ petition to the Punjab High Court in accordance with article 226. When the court ruled that the applicant’s rank reduction amounted to a form of punishment and that he had not been given a fair chance to be heard, his appeal was granted and the rank reduction was ruled unlawful. Respondent filed an appeal against the High Court’s ruling before the bench Divisional, who disagreed with the ruling and said that the reduction was acceptable. Later, the appeal in for SLP was presented before Supreme Court for reconsideration of the decision made by the Punjab High Court.
- Whether the reduction in rank of Parshottam lal Dhingra was according to the provisions of article 310 and 311 of the constitution?
- Whether the applicant was competent person for that post?
- Whether he was removed from that post illegally and in such,position whether he is entitled to scale protection of article 311?
CONCERNED PROVISIONS OF LAW
Article 310 of the Indian Constitution- Tenure of office of a person serving the Union or the State
Article 311 of the Indian Constitution- Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or the State
Article 311(1)- No civil servant is to be dismissed or removed by an authority by which he was appointed.[i]
Article 3112)- Provides, that no civil servant can be dismissed, removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and must be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.
The appellant applied for a mandamus for restoration to the former post on the ground that his degradation was an arbitrary and summary act and that he had been removed from his post upon charges which he had no opportunity to hear or defend
The Union of India argues that the higher post to which the appellant was appointed was temporary and that the appellant was only acting in it; regulations were cited to support this claim, and it was determined that the government had the authority to transfer the appellant from a higher to a lower post in accordance with those regulations.
JUDGEMENT BY THE HIGH COURT
The Punjab High Court’s Mr. Justice Harnam Singh ruled that the applicant’s rank reduction amounted to a form of punishment and that he had not been given a fair opportunity to be heard. As a result, the court accepted the applicant’s appeal and ruled that the rank reduction was unlawful. The respondent filed an appeal with the Punjab High Court’s division bench in opposition to Mr. Justice Harnam Singh’s decision. The division bench granted this appeal, and Mr. Justice Harnam Singh’s decision was reversed.
JUDGEMENT BY THE SUPREME COURT
- In accordance with the opinion of the majority, court held that although Parshottam Dhingra was working as an officiating Assistant Controller Railway Telegraph, hence he is not entitled to get the protection of Article 311 because the provisions are for the civil servants who are permanently employed in certain posts. Thus, protection is not for officiating post who just perform the prescribe duty. Moreover, the appellant had no right to continue in that post, as the term of such appointment was based on terminable notice given by the government; therefore, his reduction did not operate as there is no forfeiture of any right and could be prescribed a reduction in rank by way of punishment. Also, his reduction does not amount to dismissal as the chance of promotion was asserted by the General Manager. Thus, it is concluded that appellant was not reduced in rank by way of punishment and therefore, the protection of Article 311(2) does not apply in the case.
- In the minority opinion stated that the protection given under Article 311 should not be limited within some rules and regulation but it should be seen that such reduction in rank is due to some punishment and should come under the protection clause.
- As a result, the appeal was dismissed.
- The English ‘doctrine of pleasure’ adopted from common law principle is limited by provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution
- Articles 310 and 311 of the Constitution apply to permanent service holder of the post and for an officiating post.
- To seek the protection of Article 311 it is an essential condition that the person must be competent person of the post and must hold the post as specified.
CONCLUSION AND ANALYSIS
The application of Articles 310 and 311 of the Constitution has been discussed in the Parshottam Dhingra case. The case centred around the part on service law, where a civil servant or permanent employee working for the Union or the State occupies a position with tenure and protection guaranteed by Articles 310 and 311 of the Constitution. The main idea of Article 310 is the doctrine of pleasure, which was taken directly from the English Common Law system. It was made cleared in this case that Article 310 covers only those persons who are permanent members of the specified services or who do not hold permanent post therein, do not hold their respective offices during the pleasure of the President and the Governor, as the case may be. Article 310(1), has adopted the English Common law rule called Doctrine of Pleasure.
The constitutional protection provided by clauses (1) and (2) will not apply to people who hold temporary or permanent positions because Article 311 is only limited to people who are permanent members of the service or who hold permanent civil posts, and as a result, these people will be subject to being fired or removed by an authority subordinate to the one they were appointed. Furthermore, as they solely carry out the responsibilities of those offices, persons who are merely performing in them cannot be called to “hold” the post. Additionally, the doctrine of pleasure is constrained by Article 311.
Written By- Snigdha Sharma
Lovely Professional University
- State of Bihar v. Abdul majid, AIR 1954 SC 245.
- Jayanti Prasad v. The State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1951 All 793.
- Indiankanoon, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1270113/
- Gopi Kishore Prasad v. The State of Bihar, AIR 1955 Pat 372.
- IND State of Punjab v. S. Sukhbans Singh, AIR 1957 P H 191.
- Shrinivas Ganesh v. Union of India, AIR 1956 Bom 455.
- Casemine, https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/56098d3fe4b01497113899cc
- Venkata Rao v. secretary of State, 1913 24 MLJ 80.
- S. A. Venkataraman v. Union of India, AIR 1954 SC 375.