(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.
Draft Article 282B (Article 311 Constitution of India 1950) was absent in the Draft Constitution 1948. It was introduced by the Drafting Committee Chairman on 7 September 1949. Draft Article 282B discussed how a member of the Union and State civil services should be dismissed from office.
It stated that a lower ranked officer cannot dismiss a civil service member, who is higher in position. Further, before dismissal or reduction in rank, the civil service authority should have an opportunity to explain themselves. However, the civil service officer may not be given such an opportunity in three instances - (i) due to security reasons, (ii) practical issues or (iii) dismissal due to criminal conviction.
The Assembly discussed Draft Article 282B on 8 September 1949. A Member proposed that a civil service officer should be dismissed only by the Union Public Service Commission or State Public Service Commission. He believed that bureaucracy must be independent from the control of ministries. Therefore, he suggested that the power to remove or dismiss a civil service officer should rest with the Public Service Commissions.
Another Member felt that the grounds for denying a civil servant officer the opportunity of being heard before dismissal were too wide and that the security granted to civil servant officers were being diluted. Some Members suggested alternatives to the grounds stated in the Draft Article, however the Assembly rejected these amendments.
A few Members wanted that the opportunity of being heard be denied in cases where a person is convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude instead of a criminal offence. This was suggested to address the concern that criminal convictions are based on varying factors and may not always be accurate.
The Drafting Committee Chairman clarified that the Draft Article lists grounds for not providing an opportunity to be heard and not the grounds for dismissal. He stated that Parliament and State legislatures have the power to enact laws for dismissal of civil servant officers. Further, he mentioned that denial of opportunity to be heard could be challenged in an appeal before the Public Service Commission.
The Assembly rejected all the amendments proposed and adopted Draft Article 282B on 8 September 1949.
Minor language changes were made to Article 311 after the Constitution was enacted in 1950. Further, Article 311 was amended in 1976 to clarify that after a hearing if a penalty is levied against a civil service officer, there is no requirement to hold a separate hearing for determining the penalty amount.