Raj HC | An employee cannot be transferred in the last year of his service, if the department does not have an obvious cause for the same

Rajasthan High Court: Alok Sharma, J. allowed a civil writ petition filed by a person against his transfer order. As a result of which, another order was passed regarding its transfer, quashing the previous transfer order.

 In the instant case, the petitioner was transferred to the post of RTO Alwar and respondent 3 herein who was posted as RTO earlier, was transferred to the Transport Department. Since the petitioner was due to retire in just six months, he challenged his transfer order before the Rajasthan Civil Services Appellate Tribunal, Jaipur. The Tribunal quashed his transfer order. Consequently, respondent 3 was transferred back to his original post of RTO and the petitioner was directed to join Parivahan Bhavan, Jaipur. Aggrieved by the said order of the Department, the instant petition was filed.

At the outset, the Court observed that the order passed by Tribunal was a well considered and replete with cogent reasons. It remarked that a transfer is an incident of service and the discretion of an employer in transferring an employee is quite wide. Ordinarily, no interference is to be made with an order of transfer unless it violates a statutory rule or is malafide. But it was opined that the same is not an iron-clad opinion in law. The Court relied on the case of Manjula Pathak v. State of Rajasthan, (SB CWP No. 14577 of 2016), which was also considered by the Tribunal, and held that transfer of an employee, within a year of his imminent superannuation, deserved interference.

It was observed that an employee, who is to retire within one year, should not be transferred if there is no obvious cause, as such a transfer would cause avoidable disruption at the end of a government servant’s career and create difficulties in a post-retiral settlement.

The Court was of the view that it was for the State Government to satisfy the Tribunal as to the circumstances which made it manifest that transferring the petitioner was founded upon a careful evaluation of public interest and/or administrative exigencies and that the impugned transfer was not a casual and mechanical exercise of discretion. The State should also have satisfied the Tribunal that while passing the impugned transfer order, the fact of the respondent 3 superannuating in six months was consciously taken into consideration. Neither of the above was admittedly done.

In view of the above, it was held that the order passed by the Tribunal required no interference by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. No manifest injustice can be said to have been caused to the petitioner by the impugned order of transfer. The consequential order passed by respondents had thus to be sustained.

The writ petition was dismissed for being bereft of merits.[Rani Jain v. Government of Rajasthan, 2019 SCC OnLine Raj 1615, decided on 13-05-2019]

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