Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi, JJ., while addressing the present matter, expressed that,

If the Government servant is not complying with the orders of the Government, the same can be treated as misconduct or as unbecoming of the Government Servant, warranting initiation of appropriate departmental proceedings against them.

Government constituted an Administrative Reforms Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Justice A.K. Rajan, Retired Judge of Madras High Court to ensure the corruption-free and transparent administration and certain recommendations of the said Committee were also accepted by the Government.

In the above-stated recommendations, one of the recommendations was with regard to fixing accountability on every Government Servant, at every stage at every level.

It was also noted that even though the Government Order was passed in the year 2010, none of the departments had taken any effective steps to implement the said Government Order.

Every Government Servant is expected to act in accordance with the Acts, Rules and the Government Orders issued by the Government then and there.

If the Secretary Level Officers have not complied with the orders of the Government, how we can expect a common citizen to comply with the orders of the Government.

Further, the Court added that only on Court’s direction, Government had sent reminders to the respective Departments for implementation of the G.O based on the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Committee. Even thereafter, only a few Departments responded with certain Circulars or some Administrative Instructions in a vague manner without implementing the said Government Order in true letter and spirit.

“Ignorantia legis neminem excusat” – Ignorance of law excuses no one. Even a common man cannot plead that he is ignorant of law of the Government. When that is the position for a common man, what would be the responsibility of the Secretary Level Officers.

High Court observed that if the Government Orders are utterly disobeyed by the Secretary Level Officers in such a manner, then who can be expected to obey the Government Orders.

In view of the above discussion, Bench stated that it expected a positive response from the State Government on the possibility of amending the existing relevant Government Service Rules, for effective implementation of G.O.(Ms)No. 24, Personnel and Administrative Department, dated 17-02-2010 and to report before this Court. [A.P. Suryaprakasam v. State of T.N., 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 5981, decided on 18-12-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam: The Coram of P. Madhavan (Judicial Member) and K.V. Eapen (Administrative Member) disposed the application denying relief to the applicant finding no valid reason to interfere in Government’s order.

The applicant is an employee of the Indian Railways currently working as Chief Engineer Construction at Ernakulam. The applicant has claimed an out of the ordinary situation whereby he’s been subjected to frequent transfers without valid grounds. The applicant was deputed for 3 years to KRDC in 2017 and then he joined as Deputy Chief Engineer, Chennai on 09-05-2019. Later, he was promoted and posted as Chief Engineer Mangalore on 19-08-2019. Thereafter he was transferred to Ernakulam vide order dated 04-11-2019. The applicant has undergone 3 transfers within a period of one year which allegedly, is against Railway norms. The latest development is where he’s been transferred and posted as ADRM, Trivandrum (Annexure A1) in response to which he filed a representation but before deciding the same a transfer and posting order (Annexure A2) has been served to him. The applicant has claimed that the frequent transfers are arbitrary and against Railway transfer guidelines and has hence prayed for quashing of Annexure 1 & 2 and order for retention as Chief Engineer Ernakulam.

The applicant has contended that transfer to Trivandrum is a mutual one and that a minimum tenure of 2 years and maximum of 5 years at a posting is the usual practice in Railways.

Counsel for the respondent, Girija K. Kopal has stated in her reply that the applicant holds a transferable post and is obligated to be transferred to any place in the country. There’s no transgression of any statute or rule. It’s submitted that the applicant had no objections to his other transfers. All the transfers mentioned by the applicant are of routine nature resulting out of exigencies. No illegality or arbitrariness has been committed by the respondents.

The tribunal on careful perusal of the facts and arguments advances observed, that the transfer orders of early postings were a result of administrative exigencies prevailing at that point. The contention of the applicant that the transfers are against norms and guidelines has been dismissed by the tribunal stating that it’s evident from the guidelines that there’s nothing preventing the transfers in case of administrative emergencies as the applicant is an ex-cadre employee.

The tribunal relied on the case of S.R. Venkataraman v. Union of India, (1979) 2 SCC 491 holding that courts can interfere in transfers only if its the result of a malafide exercise of authority or violation of statutory or policy provisions or if it’s done as a punitive measure or if there’s a contravention of natural justice. It has been remarked that, an employee has no vested right to hold on to a particular post when he is transferred to another post.

In view of the above, the tribunal found no reason to interfere in the transfer order basis the lack of merit in contentions raised by the applicant’s counsel alleging the transfer to be arbitrary and malafide.

Resultantly the application was disposed of, permitting the applicant to file a fresh representation to the competent authority for transfer to a convenient place, if exercised. [P.T. Benny v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine CAT 305, decided on 13-08-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Ali Mohammad Magrey, J. dismissed a Writ Petition on the basis of formal closure of ‘Rehbar-e-Taleem Teachers’ (ReT) scheme by Government’s order.

A writ petition was filed by the petitioner requesting the High Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus commanding the respondents to select the petitioner and appoint him on the basis of merit eligibility against the post of ReT in a newly opened school. Respondent 7, who was placed at Serial 1, got less percentage than the petitioner, who was placed at Serial 3, and also her certificate was not certified by the University Grant Commission. The petitioner raised an objection to that.

The learned senior Additional Advocate General, entering on the behalf of the respondents, submitted that the government has formally sanctioned the closure of the ReT scheme vide Government Order No. 919-Edu of 2018, and therefore no indefeasible right has accrued to the petitioner claiming her appointment.

The Court held that since the government had formally withdrawn the appointment under ReT scheme, the Court could not direct the respondent to appoint the petitioner against a non-existing position. The Court was of the view that when the Government had taken a policy decision canceling all the advertisements for engagement of ReT,  the Court could not direct appointment against such post.

Hence, the writ petition was held to be devoid of any merit and dismissed in limine. However, the petitioner was granted liberty to challenge the Government Order No. 919-Edu of 2018.[Rayees Qadir Padder v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 418, decided on 07-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Bench of Madhuresh Prasad, J. dismissed a civil writ petition filed by a government employee seeking transfer of cadre, holding that no enforceable claim had been made out for consideration of his application which had been filed at a highly belated stage.

The petitioner has approached this Court seeking enforcement of his application for mutual transfer by way of cadre allocation to the State of Bihar from Jharkhand where he was earlier finally allocated pursuant to the bifurcation of the State under the Bihar Re-organisation Act. Petitioner relied on clause 4 of letter no. 6764 of the Home (Special) Department dated 30-07-2013 which provided that a mutual transfer application must be acted upon by issuing a final order in respect thereof.

Counsel for the State of Bihar Mr Bijoy Kumar Sinha submitted that letter dated 30-7-2013 could not be relied upon by the petitioner in support of his claim for mutual transfer, as the said letter was only for employees of the State cadre whereas the petitioner was an employee of regional/district cadre. It was also submitted that even as per the said letter dated 30-7-2013, last date for submission of the mutual/individual transfer was 30-7-2010. Admittedly, the petitioner’s application was dated 21-9-2013, i.e., much after the cut-off date fixed in the concerned letter.

The Court noted the respondent’s contentions and submissions; and also noted that no decision of the government had been placed on record to show that the mutual request of the petitioner for cadre transfer submitted about 13 years after bifurcation of the State of Bihar, was entitled to be considered. In view thereof, it was held that petitioner’s claim for mutual cadre transfer pursuant to reorganisation of the State of Bihar in the year 2000 could not be allowed at such a belated stage in the year 2018.[Pradeep Oraon v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 18, decided on 07-01-2019]