19 Sep 2023 5:00 AM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently invalidated a transfer order and a relieving order issued to an individual holding the position of Superintendent Engineer within the M.P. Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Company Limited in Indore - characterizing them as punitive and malicious.The division bench of Justices S. A. Dharmadhikari and Hirdesh observed, “Admittedly, there is approval of...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently invalidated a transfer order and a relieving order issued to an individual holding the position of Superintendent Engineer within the M.P. Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Company Limited in Indore - characterizing them as punitive and malicious.
The division bench of Justices S. A. Dharmadhikari and Hirdesh observed, “Admittedly, there is approval of the Managing Director before passing the impugned transfer order and relieving order. Circumstances in which the transfer has been effected clearly goes to show that the same is an the out-come of mala fide and the same is punitive in nature. The order in question would attract the principle of malice in law as it was not based on any factor germane for passing an order of transfer in absence of any reply to the show-cause notice. The same has been passed in utmost haste and illegal manner.”
“It is to one to say that the employer is entitled to pass an order of transfer in administrative exigency, but it is another thing to say that the order of transfer is passed by way of, or, in lieu of punishment. When an order of transfer is passed in lieu of punishment, the same is liable to be set-aside being wholly illegal. The respondents even without waiting for the reply to show-cause notice have deliberately transferred the appellant, which amounts to colourable exercise of powers,” the bench added.
The judgment was delivered in a writ appeal filed under Section 2(1) of the Madhya Pradesh Uccha Nyayalaya Ki Nyayapeeth Ko Appeal Adhiniyam, 2005. The appellant had challenged a show-cause notice, a transfer order, and a relieving order through the appeal.
The case revolved around the appellant, who was serving as a Superintendent Engineer in the establishment of M.P. Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Company Limited, Indore. In July 2023, a show-cause notice was issued to the appellant, alleging unauthorized entry into the Managing Director's Chamber without prior permission, where important files and documents were stored.
Before the appellant could respond to the show-cause notice, he was abruptly transferred from Indore to Agar, on the post of Executive Engineer. On the same day, he was relieved from his duties in Indore, with an immediate handover directive.
The single judge, in a preliminary ruling, noted that the petitioner had not been afforded proper opportunity to respond to the show-cause notice. Consequently, the judge disposed of the writ petition, granting the petitioner the liberty to submit a representation to the competent authority within one week. The competent authority was directed to decide on the representation in accordance with the law within three weeks.
During the course of the proceedings, the respondents' counsel presented note-sheets pertaining to the appellant's transfer and the show-cause notice. The court observed that the appellant, who held the substantive post of Executive Engineer (T&D), was transferred from the West City Division, Indore, to the Corporate Office, Indore, as Superintending Engineer (Current Charge). The Court further observed that the note-sheet clearly indicated the approval for this transfer on the aforementioned date.
Regarding the show-cause notice, the court declined to intervene, despite the appellant's challenge in the writ petition.
Conclusively, the Court quashed the transfer order, and the relieving order. However, the court specified that the respondents were free to proceed against the appellant in accordance with the law, starting from the issuance of the show-cause notice, if they so chose.
Counsel For The Appellant: Shri Abhinav P. Dhanodkar, Advocate
Counsel For The Respondent/S: Shri Prasanna Prasad, Advocate For Respondents No.2 To 4
Case Title: Gajendra Kumar Vs. The State Of Madhya Pradesh And Others
Case No.: Writ Appeal No. 1202 Of 2023
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment