Bahra University

Shimla: Taking strong exception to the transfer of employees being made by the State Government on the recommendations of the extra-constitutional authorities, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday directed the Chief Secretary to take appropriate action in the matter and implement the directions issued by the Court in this behalf.

The orders were passed by a Division Bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua on a writ petition filed by Vipender Kalta who challenged his transfer order.

Kalta has alleged that the transfer has not been made in the public interest or administrative exigency, rather the same has been made on the basis of a DO Note, 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, who 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 utilize the services of its employees, however, this power must be exercised honestly, bonafide and reasonably and in the public interest.

The Court further observed 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.

“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,” said the Court.

 The Court observed that 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 to toe the line drawn by the politicians,” said the Court.

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 relating to transfers of employees, the Government should implement online transfer in its Departments, Boards, Corporations, etc. 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.