29 Sep 2023 11:00 AM GMT
Upholding the right of a disciplined security force to transfer its personnel in the interest of better administration, the Patna High Court emphasized that transfers are inherent to the job and can only be challenged if they are punitive, malafide, or if the ordering authority does not possess the power to transfer, or if the post is non-transferable.The court expressed its reluctance...
Upholding the right of a disciplined security force to transfer its personnel in the interest of better administration, the Patna High Court emphasized that transfers are inherent to the job and can only be challenged if they are punitive, malafide, or if the ordering authority does not possess the power to transfer, or if the post is non-transferable.
The court expressed its reluctance to evaluate administrative orders, particularly when the presented circumstances are not exceptionally compelling to disturb a reasonable person, prompting them to challenge the administrative efficiency cited.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Partha Sarthy observed that “The appellant is in a transferable post and the instant transfer is not punitive, malafide or motivated by any extraneous consideration. The appellant has been transferred by the competent authority that too to satisfy the requirement of home sector and outside home sector posting”
“The employer, a disciplined force also is concerned with a homogeneous mix of personnel, in every Unit it has all over the country, especially when the personnel are appointed from different areas within the country. This ensures sensitivity regarding the location as also objectivity in addressing the security concerns and implementing exact standards, in the various sensitive and secured locations, manned by the personnel of the security force,” the bench added.
The above development came in a letters patent appeal preferred by a Sub-Inspector Ministerial (a non-gazetted member of the CISF) challenging the inter sector transfer issued under signature of Additional Inspector General.
The appellant claimed that he was stationed in an out-of-home sector (‘OHS’) for nine years and three months, exceeding the requirement of seven years. Between 2010 and 2016, he served in the Eastern Sector at Patna and the Group Headquarters at Patna.
The appellant had further submitted that from 2016 to 2021, he worked in Ranchi and was transferred to the Eastern Zone, Patna, in May 2021. Anticipating an inter-sector transfer, he submitted a representation on November 15, 2022. He had requested to stay in Patna due to his wife's medical treatment at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Science (IGIMS), Patna. He highlighted that he had been in Patna for only one year and six months during this specific instance.
Despite his representation, the appellant said that he was transferred to Bengaluru Airport. He filed another representation, arguing that the transfer was premature, as he hadn't completed three years at the current posting. He also mentioned his son's education, who was in Class-9. The appellant initiated a writ petition, but his request was denied, leading him to challenge this decision with a supplementary affidavit.
The Single Judge observed that the force comprised personnel from diverse regions, and each unit should have a balanced representation from various parts of the country. The Court saw no reason to interfere with the transfer, emphasizing the established principle that transfers are inherent to the job. Consequently, the petition was dismissed.
Displeased with this ruling, the appellant filed a letters patent appeal.
The Court at the outset stated, "In law what is stated has to be restated, even if it ist he obvious; lest we traverse beyond the boundaries of the jurisdiction conferred. Transfer, is an incidence of service and can be challenged only if it is malafide, a veiled punitive action, the authority ordering it, having no such power conferred or the post being non-transferable.”
“None of these circumstances arise in the above case and the defense of the respondent is one of better administration; to which end the pleas of an employee for compassion or leniency, has to bow down,” the Court added.
Highlighting that the appellant’s counsel had been consistently urging compassion, which cannot be precipitated by proactive judicial orders, the Court opined that there was absolutely no reason to interfere with the judgment of the Single Judge.
The Court pointed out that the appellant had approached the administrative authorities, who considered his case and found it to be not one worthy of surmounting or circumventing the administrative requirements of the force.
“We cannot sit in judgment of such administrative orders, especially, when the circumstance pointed out, is not so compelling as to shock a reasonable person, motivating him to overcome and overstep the administrative expediency, stated,” the Court said while dismissing the letters patent appeal.
Counsel/s For the Appellant/s: Mr. Manoj Kumar, Advocate
Counsel/s For the Respondent/s: Dr. Krishna Nandan Singh, ASG Mr. Renuka Sharma, CGC Mr. Prakritita Sharma, JC to ASG Mr. Sriram Krishna, JC to ASG
LL Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Pat) 117
Case Title: Manoj Kumar Gupta vs. The Union of India
Case No.: Letters Patent Appeal No.1032 of 2023
Click Here To Read / Download Judgement