Transfer policy should not be taken lightly: Himachal HC
Taking strong exception to the transfer of employees being made by the state government on the recommendations of extra-constitutional authorities, the high court of Himachal Pradesh has directed the chief secretary to take appropriate action in the matter and implement the directions issued by the court.
A division bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed these orders on a writ petition filed by one Vipender Kalta, challenging his transfer order.
The petitioner has alleged that the transfer has neither been made in public interest nor administrative exigency, rather the same has been made on the basis of a DO Note and therefore the same is not legally tenable.
While allowing the petition, the court observed that the recommendations to transfer the petitioner has been mooted by an extra-constitutional authority, which has no role in the functioning and business of the administration, therefore, the impugned transfer of the petitioner cannot be sustained.
The court observed that the government is the best judge to decide how to distribute and utilise the services of its employees, however, this power must be exercised honestly, bona fide and reasonably and in public interest.
The bench said that courts and tribunals are not expected to interdict the working of the administrative system by transferring the officers to the proper place, however, it becomes necessary for the court to interfere when it notices gross irregularities being committed by the government in the matters of transfer. The court observed that it’s time to turn the searchlight on the state government and remind it that the transfer policy should not be taken lightly or made a mockery or a tool to transfer government employees on the whims and fancies of the politicians.
The court observed that the government, being an ideal employer, has a bounden duty to strictly safeguard the interest of its employees against the machinations of politicians. The public servants need to discharge their functions without fear or favour and they need not toe the line drawn by the politicians.
The court said that government should not encourage such extra-constitutional authorities to interfere with the administration and governance of the state, or else, there is every likelihood of there being a complete breakdown of rule of law.
The court also observed that since the docket of the court is full of cases related to transfers of employees, the government should implement online transfer in its departments, boards, corporations, having over 500 employees by framing an online transfer policy and directions to this effect have already been issued by the court in various writ petitions.