Article 311 of the Constitution

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    Recently, Assistant Police Inspector was dismissed from service by Mumbai Police Commissioner under Article 311 (2) (b) without a departmental enquiry.

    About Article 311 

    • Article 311 of the Constitution of India states that 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.
    • Article 311 (2 ) says that no civil servant shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which s/he has been informed of the charges and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.
      • It gives them a chance to respond to the charges in an enquiry so that he/she is not arbitrarily dismissed from service.

    Process of a Departmental Enquiry

    • In a departmental enquiry, after an enquiry officer is appointed, the civil servant is given a formal charge sheet of the charges. The civil servant can represent himself/herself or choose to have a lawyer. Witnesses can be called during the departmental enquiry following which the enquiry officer can prepare a report and submit it to the government for further action.
    • Exceptions
      • As per Article 311 sub-clause 2 
        • Provision a: if a government employee is convicted in a criminal case, he can be dismissed without departmental enquiry. 
        • Provision b: It states “when an 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 enquiry”.
        • Provision c: A government employee can be dismissed when the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of state it is not expedient to hold such an enquiry, the employee can be dismissed without departmental enquiry..
    • Recent Instances of Article 311 (2) subsections 
    • The Jammu & Kashmir administration recently set up a Special Task Force (STF) to “scrutinise cases of employees suspected of activities requiring action under Article 311(2)(c)
      • The order dated April 21 further tasks the STF headed by ADG (CID) J&K to “compile records of such employees, wherever necessary and to the committee constituted by the government”. 
        • Three government employees, including two teachers, have already been fired. The move has been opposed by rights activists.
    • Alternatives to dismiss the dismissal under section 311 (2) 
      • The government employee dismissed under these provisions can approach either tribunal like the state administrative tribunal or Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) or the courts.

    Related Constitutional Articles

    • Article 309: Recruitment & conditions of service of persons serving Union or States.
    • Article 310: Pleasure exercised by President of India on appointment & dismissal of Civil servants.
    • Article 311: Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State.
    • Article 312: Creation of one or more All India Services common to Union & States (Special Power of Rajya Sabha).
    • Article 315: Public Service Commissions for the Union and for the States.

    Central Administrative Tribunal

    • The Central Administrative Tribunal had been established under Article 323 – A of the Constitution for adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or other authorities under the control of the Government
    • There are 17 Benches and 21 Circuit Benches in the Central Administrative Tribunal all over India. 

    Source:IE