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Report No. 58

Constitutional safeguards

8.18. But, the "during pleasure" principle is, under our Constitution, subject to several restrictions and safeguards for the protection of the Government servants. Article 311 of the Constitution provides, in effect, that no Government servant shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed, nor dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charge against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in his defence.

There are other safeguards which have the status of fundamental rights. Clause (1) of Article 16 of the Constitution lays down that there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. The Supreme Court has held1 hat the protection of this clause is not limited to the initial stage of appointment, but throws its protective mantle on the Government servant throughout his career and extends the principle of equality of opportunity in such matters as promotion, selection for special posts. retrenchment, retirement (including compulsory retirement), pension and so on.

Clause (2) of Article 16 enjoins that no citizen shall on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent or place of birth, residence or any of them be ineligible for or discriminated against in respect of any employment or office under the State. In addition to these special safeguards, Article 14 lays down that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the law within the territory of India. As stated above the general guarantee of equality under Article 14 and the special guarantees of equality of opportunity and of non-discrimination under Article 16 have the status of fundamental rights.

1. General Manager v. Rangachari, AIR 1962 SC 26 (40-41).

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