A case of two senior police officials vying for the same coveted post in the Thane (City) crime branch has led the Bombay High Court to ask the state to revisit the Transfers Act, 2005 and amend the definition of the term ‘transfer’.
“The ambit of the term ‘transfer’ as defined under the Act, we are afraid, is likely to lead to a very dangerous situation. The term has a very broad meaning, which takes in its swipe even transfers from one table to the next, under the same roof.” said the division bench of Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice U D Salvi.
According to the bench, the term ‘transfer’ in general parlance would indicate a change of station, headquarter, city or town, and therefore, felt the definition should not cover intra-city, intra-headquarter transfers.
“The term “transfer” must have its limited meaning,” noted the bench. “If the term was literally interpreted, it was possible that a police officer may safely retire from Mumbai without going out of the city at any time during his entire tenure.”
The court was hearing a petition arising out of a fight between two officers from the Thane (City) crime branch — Ramesh Shivdas, assistant commissioner of police (Prevention) and Pandit Kendre, assistant commissioner of police (Detection).
Both Kendre and Shivdas had been transferred to the post of ACP (detection) simultaneously in July 2009. Shivdas was transferred to the post by the then commissioner of police and Kendre was transferred to the post by the Home Department.
After a few days, Shivdas was transferred to the post of ACP (Prevention). He then moved high court after the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal dismissed his plea challenging his transfer from the post of ACP (Detection).
The two officers came to be transferred to the same post, because of a communication gap between the office of the director general of police and the Home Department. Though, the Thane commissioner of police had intimated the DGP’s office about Shivdas’ posting, the latter failed to pass on the information to the Home Department, which transferred Kendre to the post.