Common Men, Uncommon Law: Exploring the Links between Disciplinary Proceedings and Criminal Law

21 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2007

Date Written: October 10, 2007


Equality in administrative law and procedure is a Dicean concept. It delves into the fact that there must be equality in treatment between public servants and the ordinary citizen. The State-citizen divide in the legal system has always been a debatable issue that only some have sought to address. This issue also comes to the fore in the area of criminal law.

With its roots in the French droit administratif, the system of having disciplinary proceedings for certain crimes conducted by public servants is a facet of the Indian administrative system. It marks the diversion from the old common law system. That however is not the problem. The problem arises when there is a difference in the punishment meted out to these persons for the crimes they have committed that are way different from those meted out to the ordinary citizen for the same crime. Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure still remains as a bar to prosecuting government servants with the latest case being that of UP Chief Miniser Mayawati where the Governor refused to give a sanction under Section 197. This despite a SC decision in Prakash Singh Badal v. Union of India in December 2006 stating that no sanction is required in corruption cases.

It is observed that the Indian legal system is one bridled with impunity and looks at placing the State above the law. This, despite very well knowing that the state is the creation of the law and consists of the ordinary man itself.

In light of the above theoretical framework, this paper would like to explore the diverse link between disciplinary proceedings and ordinary criminal law. Along with analyzing the laws relevant, the researchers would also be looking at the collection of data concerning the punishments to public servants and finally presenting an argument as to why such a system must not be present today.

Keywords: administrative law, criminal law, rule of law

Suggested Citation

Swarup, Aditya, Common Men, Uncommon Law: Exploring the Links between Disciplinary Proceedings and Criminal Law (October 10, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Aditya Swarup (Contact Author)

NALSAR University of law ( email )

Justice City, Shameerpet
Rangareddy Dist.
Hyderabad, Hyderabad 500 014


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