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Governor’s Doctrine Of Pleasure

What is Doctrine of Pleasure

  • Doctrine Of Pleasure is a concept derived from English common law, under which the crown can dispense with the services of anyone in its employ at any time.
  • 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, and every member of the civil service in the States holds office during the Doctrine Of Pleasure Governor.
    • Article 311 imposes restrictions on the removal of a civil servant.


Doctrine Of Pleasure Governor Role And Responsibility

  • The position of Governor is like that of the President at the Union.
    • He/She is at the head of the state’s executive power, and barring some matters, acts on the advice of the council of ministers, which is responsible, in accordance with the parliamentary system, to the state legislature.
    • Governor is appointed by the President (on the advice of the central government) and, therefore, acts as the vital link between the Union and the state governments.
  • Article 163(1): Council of Ministers must aid and advise the Governor.
  • Article 163(2): Governor can act in his/her discretion in certain matters as permitted by the Constitution.
  • Article 164(1): The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
    • Explanation: Unless the Cabinet or the Chief Minister advises the expulsion of a Minister, the Governor cannot cause the exit of a particular Minister by “withdrawing pleasure”.
    • Titular Head: Governor is only a titular head of the State and that if the Cabinet has majority, the Governor cannot act against the Cabinet.


Doctrine of Pleasure Supreme Court of India on Discretion of Governor

  • In Shamsher Singh vs State of Punjab (1974), Supreme court said that the President of the Indian Union will be generally bound by the advice of his /her Ministers.
    • He/She can do nothing contrary to their advice nor can he do anything without their advice.
    • President of the Indian Union has no power to do so, so long as his/her Ministers command a majority in Parliament.
    • Same principles apply to the Governors as well, since the Union Minister also holds the office “during the pleasure of the President” as in Article 75(2) of the Constitution.
  • In Nabam Rebia and Etc. vs Deputy Speaker And Ors (2016) the Supreme Court cited the observations of B R Ambedkar: “The Governor under the Constitution has no function which he can discharge by himself; no functions at all.


Doctrine of Pleasure Governor Position and Role

  • Sarkaria Commission, 1983: It proposed that the Vice President of India and Speaker of Lok Sabha should be consulted by the Prime Minister in the selection of Governors.
  • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, 2000
    • Governor of a State should be appointed by the President, after consultation with the Chief Minister of that State.
    • Normally the five-year term should be adhered to, and removal or transfer of the Governor should be by following a similar procedure as for appointment i.e., after consultation with the Chief Minister of the concerned State.
  • Punchhi Committee, 2007
    • It supported the right of the Governor to sanction the prosecution of ministers against the advice of the state government.
    • Committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Vice President, Speaker, and the concerned Chief Minister should choose the Governor.
    • It recommended deleting the “Doctrine of Pleasure” from the Constitution.
    • It recommended impeachment of the Governor by the state legislature.


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