Transferring government employees on political grounds is against public policy, the Himachal Pradesh High Court ruled Friday.
Setting aside the transfer order of four government employees, a division bench of Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh observed: “The transfer at the instance of a person, who has no role to play in the government, will not only be extraneous consideration but also against public policy.”
“It shakes the confidence of the people and creates an impression in the mind of the common man that the centre of power is somewhere else and not the government,” they said.
Public Works Department employee Sanjay Kumar, one of the petitioners, said he was transferred from Dharampur division to Sangrah division against a vacant post on political grounds.
He said he was transferred at the instance of Chander Sekhar, a Congress worker, and that 400 transfers were carried out at his behest.
“To curb this tendency and inspire confidence in the general public and more particularly in the employees, it is necessary that no one should get an impression that an employee can be transferred for asking at the instance of a person, who has no concern with the government,” the judges said.
“Issuing transfer orders at the instance of an outsider, who happens to be a party worker, cannot be a coincidence. Such action not only shakes the conscience of the court, but also inevitably impinges upon the validity of such orders as the same are the product of colourable exercise of power.”
The judges said the proposal for a transfer has not originated from the administrative department concerned but because of the direction received from the Chief Minister’s Office.
“The special secretary to the chief minister informed the head of the department concerned that the chief minister has approved the transfer of the incumbent from his present posting to the specified station against vacancy, with direction to take necessary action accordingly,” they said.