Courts’ interference is limited in transfers: CAT

Srinagar, Nov 4: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has held that an employee has no vested right to claim transfer or posting of his choice and individual convenience of a person in the service is always as per the public and administrative needs.

Dismissing a petition by some Class-IV employees who were transferred to R&B Division Gurez from R&B Division, Kulgam, a bench of M S Latif, Member (J) held that the “interference of courts is limited in transfers unless such transfer is initiated by violation of some statutory order or malafides”.

“It is the employer who is the best judge to utilize the services of an employee admittedly in the interest of the administration or in the public interest,” the tribunal said.

The aggrieved employees contended that the transfer order was bad in law as the same was contrary to the Civil Services De-centralisation and Recruitment Act of 2010.

The petitioners submitted that they were discriminated against as they only were shifted from Kulgam and posted at Gurez.

“The transfer of the petitioners is an outcome of malice as the Chief Engineer, Public Works Department had to retire by the end of October 2023, as such was made to order the transfer of the petitioners which speaks of so many things,” they said.

“It is settled law that he who alleges malafides has not only to support the same to establish the allegations with cogent and acceptable evidence,” the tribunal said. “A mere statement at Bar for or against an official cannot be taken into account unless supported by any cogent proof or evidence.”

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The court pointed out that there was no material to support the allegation as such the plea of malafides was untenable.

In response to the argument that the petitioners were Class-IV petty employees and it may cause inconvenience for them to be posted at Gurez which is a far-flung area, the tribunal said: “This argument may be appealing but a Government servant has no legal right to be posted forever at any particular place or a place of his choice as transfer is a part of service.”

It said that the courts and tribunals have a very limited power to interfere unless circumstances speak otherwise.

Meanwhile, the court directed the concerned competent authority to accord consideration to the representation of the petitioners within two weeks saying till then the present status of the applicants shall not be disturbed.

“The order of stay will cease to be operational after four weeks if representation is not disposed of within two weeks,” it said.

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