Recently, Kerala witnessed a debate on the application of the ‘Principle of Happiness‘ to the appointment and dismissal of Vice Chancellors of Universities as Chancellors of all State Universities by the State Governor.
The ‘principle of pleasure‘ is a concept derived from British ordinary law. Under this, the British Crown can at any time withdraw from the services of any civil servant engaged in it. The moral rule in England is that a civil servant of the Crown holds office during the pleasure of the Crown. This means that its services may be terminated by Crown at any time without assigning any reason.
In India, Article 310 of the Constitution states that every person in the defense of the Union or in the civil service holds office during the pleasure of the President, and every member of the civil service in the States holds office during the will of the Governor. Article 311 prohibits the removal of a civil servant. It provides for the civil servants to be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard on the charges against them.
There is also a provision for termination of the investigation if it is not practical to conduct the investigation, or it is not expedient to do so in the interest of national security.
Practically speaking, the pleasure of the President mentioned here belongs to the Central Government, and the pleasure of the Governor belongs to the State Government.
The Supreme Court has said on this matter that it is against the norms of UGC. In a case challenging the appointment of MS Rajasree as the Vice Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram, the Supreme Court held that his appointment was contrary to the rules of the University Grants Commission.
According to the search committee, they had identified only one candidate and recommended the name to the Chancellor for appointment. However, under UGC rules, a panel of three to five names should be recommended so that the Chancellor has multiple options to choose from.
If we look at the stand of the state governments on the issue, they rejected the court’s argument that it had not specifically adopted the rules of the UGC, holding that the rules made under the central law were in line with the relevant rules of the state government. will override.
If we see the power of the Governor in this regard, then the Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor under Article 164. Along with this, other ministers are also appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. It states that ministers hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
In a constitutional system in which he is appointed only on the advice of the Chief Minister, the referenced ‘happiness’ is also taken to mean the right of the Chief Minister to dismiss a minister and not as the authority of the Governor. In short, the governor of an Indian state cannot remove a minister on his own.