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Article 311 of Constitution of India

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Article 311 of Constitution of India deals with Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State.

From the Constitution

(1) No person who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all-India service or a civil service of a State or holds a civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed.

[(2) No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges ***:

[Provided that where it is proposed after such inquiry, to impose upon him any such penalty, such penalty may be imposed on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such person any opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed:

Provided further that this clause shall not apply—]

(a) where a person is dismissed or removed or reduced in rank on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge; or

(b) where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry; or

(c) where the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State it is not expedient to hold such inquiry.

(3) If, in respect of any such person as aforesaid, a question arises whether it is reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry as is referred to in clause (2), the decision thereon of the authority empowered to dismiss or remove such person or to reduce him in rank shall be final.]


  • Generally, opportunity before an employee getting dismissed will be available twice - at the inquiry stage and later at dismissal stage. However, this was changed by way of Constitutional (42nd Amendment Act, 1976 where in, after inquiry, a punishment amongst dismissal, removal or reduction of rank will be given on the basis on evidence obtained during the inquiry.
  • 'Dismissal' bars the person from further employment. 'Removal' allows the person to seek further employment.
  • Provisions of Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 do not apply during departmental inquiry
  • Compulsory retirement is not punitive action. No protection under this Article will be available in cases of compulsory retirement. Compulsory retirement does not involve any penal consequences and all his past pays will be paid.
  • Protection under Article 311(2) is available for both permanent and temporary Government servants.

Recent Cases / Related Cases / Case Law

  • State of UP v A N Singh, AIR 1965 SC 360
    • For an employee to be a civil servant, there should be a master-slave relationship between the State and the employee
    • Employees of Statutory Corporations registered under Companies Act, 1956 are not civil servants
  • Mahesh v State of UP, AIR 1955 SC 70: Dismissal by an officer of the same rank is valid
  • Shyam Lal v State of UP, AIR 1954 SC 369
  • D Ramaswami v State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1982 SC 793: Compulsory retirement ordered shortly after a promotion is invalid and unsustainable.
  • Purushottam Lal Dhinra v Union of India, AIR 1958 SC 36
  • Pradip Kumar Vs Union of India and Others, Civil Appellate Jurisdiction, Civil Appeal No. 9082 OF 2012, Supreme Court of India judgement dated December 14, 2012

Related Articles

  • Article 309: Recruitment and conditions of service of persons serving the Union or a State
  • Article 310: Tenure of office of persons serving the Union or a State
  • Article 312: All-India services
  • Article 312A: Power of Parliament to vary or revoke conditions of service of officers of certain services
  • Article 313: Transitional provisions
  • Article 14: Right to Equality

Related Acts

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