Kar HC | Government cannot act in a whimsical fashion, deviating from the prescribed service rules

Karnataka High Court: Krishna S. Dixit and P.N. Desai, JJ., while allowing a writ petition by a civil servant, observes,

“Government being a model employer cannot act like the East India Company of the bygone days”

The present writ petition is sought by a Civil Servant of the State, challenging an order dated 12-08-2020, made by, the Kalaburagi bench of the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal (‘KSAT’), denying relief against the unilateral termination of his deputation by the borrowing department (RDPR) on the ground of ‘efflux of time.’ The series of events are categorically stated hereunder:

  1. That vide notification dated 09-05-2017, the Karnataka State Government sent the petitioner on deputation to the respondent 1; RDPR department.
  2. That vide notification dated 02-06-2017, the RDPR department posted the petitioner as an Assistant Executive Engineer, project subdivision – Vijayapur.
  3. That vide notification dated 15-07-2017, the RDPR department further transferred the petitioner as a Technical Assistant, project division – Bagalkot.
  4. That the aforementioned notification was called in question through application no. 4434 of 2014 and the KSAT had thereby allowed the petitioner to continue at his previous position by an interim order against the last deputation.
  5. That the borrowing department vide notification dated 27-02-2020, unilaterally cancelled the deputation of the petitioner and sent him back to his parent department; PWD.
  6. That the petitioner challenged this notification in application no. 1270/2020, which was eventually denied by the KSAT vide an order, and hence the petitioner has sought relief through the instant Writ Petition. 

Observations

The Court made significant remarks with respect to deputation in public services.

Citing the Supreme Court decision in, State of Punjab v. Inder Singh, (1997) 8 SCC 372, wherein it was said, “Concept of deputation is well understood in service law and has a recognized meaning. Deputation has a different connotation in service law and the dictionary meaning of the word deputation is of no help. In simple words, deputation means service outside the cadre or outside the parent department. Deputation is deputing or transferring an employee to a post outside his cadre, that is to say, to another department on a temporary basis. After the expiry period of deputation the employee has to come back to his parent department to occupy the same position unless in the meanwhile he has earned promotion in his parent department as per recruitment rules. Whether the transfer is outside the normal field of deployment or not is decided by the authority who controls the service or post from which the employee is transferred. There can be no deputation without the consent of the person so deputed.”

The Court further cited Rule 50 of the Karnataka Civil Services Rule, which reads as,

“50(1). When a Government Servant is permanently transferred or deputed from one department to the other, under the provisions of Rule 16 of General Recruitment Rules, 1977, he will draw pay in the new post at the same stage in which he was drawing in the old post and earn the next increment on the date on which he would have earned it had he continued in the old post.”

Decision

While issuing the writ of certiorari, the Court directed respondents 1 & 2 to restore the petitioner to the office which he had held on deputation immediately preceding the impugned notification dated 27-02-2020. It further said that the borrowing department has sent the petitioner back to the parent department abruptly and unilaterally, without any prior consultation with the lending department, which infact, is in deep contravention of the service rules.[C.B. Chikkalagi v. State of Karnataka, WP No 226384 of 2020, decided on 28-09-2020]

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