Transfer an incidence of service, not act of punishment: HC to BSF officer
Chandigarh The Punjab and Haryana high court has said that the transfer is an incidence of service and cannot be taken to be an act of punishment. The high court bench of justice HS Madaan dismissed a plea filed by a deputy commandant, Border Security Force (BSF), Western Command, RS Hundal, against his transfer, observing that it is for an employer to see where he requires services of the employee.
“… an employee especially member of a paramilitary force is supposed to maintain strict discipline and cannot dictate terms in that regard keeping his personal interest in view rather than showing a willingness to serve, where he is posted, especially at this juncture when the country is facing hostilities by the neighbouring countries at border,” the bench added.
Hundal, 58, approached the high court on June 24, challenging his transfer from Chandigarh to Anupgarh (Rajasthan), alleging that transfer order was in violation Covid-19 instructions barring movement of officers as well as BSF rules. He had informed the court that he is due to retire on December 31, 2022 and on attaining the age of superannuation, he cannot be sent to a faraway place in view of the fact that there is no administrative exigency.
He was posted as deputy commandant in May 2017 and now transferred with March 24 order. The court was told that he has two children — son studying in Class 12 and daughter doing Master of Arts — and there is nobody to look after them except him. A representation stating that same was submitted on January 16, 2020.
The BSF had told court that the petitioner’s representation was submitted to headquarters in Delhi. As of his new posting, he had given a few choices in 2019 for new posting, some could not be entertained due to his age and others due to administrative reasons and therefore, he was given this posting for which he gave oral consent and never represented against it.
It was also informed that he stands relieved on June 12. He could have remained here for three years only and if allowed extension of another 2.6 years, his tenure would go beyond five years, which can’t be allowed as per administrative rules. He had also not applied for terminal posting. Further, he had served in Mohali, near Chandigarh, for 165 days (August 2015 and May 2017), before taking up the Chandigarh posting. As of movement of officers during Covid-19 now there is no restriction.
Dismissing the plea, the bench observed that the petitioner has been unable to point out mala-fide in his transfer and Covid-19 guidelines also do not help the officer. The family circumstances are not that compelling requiring his immediate presence with the family for most of the time, the bench added.