Chandigarh’s inter-departmental transfer policy illegal: CAT
Less than a year after senior officers of the UT administration carried out the first round of inter-departmental transfers of subordinate staff, the Chandigarh bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has quashed the ‘Inter-departmental transfer policy’, dated May 18, 2015.punjab Updated: Apr 08, 2017 10:27 IST
Less than a year after senior officers of the UT administration carried out the first round of inter-departmental transfers of subordinate staff, the Chandigarh bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has quashed the ‘Inter-departmental transfer policy’, dated May 18, 2015.
The court said there was no legal framework under which the transfer orders could be issued, even as it stated that the intention of the Chandigarh administration behind the transfers seemed correct.
In the transfers of 900-odd employees over the past year, superintendents, stenographers clerks, junior assistants and supervisors were transferred between departments under the UT’s inter-departmental transfer policy.
The first phase of transfers of 340 employees has invited criticism and a challenge in the CAT for the UT administration.
Under the policy, the UT administrator had framed these inter-department policies in respect of group A, B, C, officials of Chandigarh administration. A transferred employee would remain on the cadre strength of his parent department and shall also draw the pay and allowances and his appointing/disciplinary authority would also remain the same. It was stated that the applicant would retain seniority/promotion and other benefits in their parent cadre.
During the hearing on Friday, the court also observed that the opinion of the Legal Remembrancer dated March 8, 2015, had not been considered by the Chandigarh administration while framing the policy. The LR had had given an opinion that the proposed policy would amount to change in service conditions.
Counsel for the petitioners, the employees, Puneet Bali, had contended in court that the transfer policy didn’t have the force of law as no specific provision of law had been quoted under which the policy had been framed.
The court had asked senior standing counsel, UT administration, Suvir Sehgal, as to under which provision of law or under which enabling provision had the transfer policy been framed.
The court was not satisfied with the explanation of the Chandigarh administration when it argued that as per notification dated February 25, 1998, power had been granted to the administrator to frame policy with regard to cases of administrative importance.
The court observed that this was merely a notification regarding delegation of powers from the administrator to the adviser. Arvind Moudgil, nodal officer, Chandigarh administration, said, “The judgment has not been received and only after going through it, the competent authority will take a decision.”