Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mid-term transfer of babu illegal: BOMBAY HC

The Bombay high court on Tuesday said the mid -term transfer of a sub-divisional officer from Bhiwandi as deputy collector (Mumbai suburban) by state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil was prima facie illegal. A bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Mahesh Sonak heard a petition by Santosh Thite challenging the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal’s (MAT) August 7, 2018 order dismissing his petition to quash and set aside his transfer.
Thite was appointed sub-divisional officer, Bhiwandi, Thane district, on November 11, 2015. On June 7, 2018, even before completing his three-year tenure, he was transferred and replaced with Mohan Naladkar. Thite had replaced Archana Kadam. Before MAT, the government said the work of the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Expressway was to be given priority, and hence Naladkar was appointed in Thite’s place. 
It also stated that Patil, in pursuance of the powers conferred upon him, effected certain modifications in the proposal prepared by the Civil Services Board. The judges said perusal of MAT’s order prima facie indicated that it proceeded on the assumption that the chief minister had approved the transfer in accordance with the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers Act. Thite’s advocate Uday Warunjikar said “his transfer is at the behest of a political personality without any authority of law.”
The judges said the minister was not the competent authority, and no reasons had been recorded as mandated by the Act. “There is also no specific prior approval. Thus, it appears to us the order is prima facie illegal. Perhaps the tribunal did not notice no reasons are recorded by the competent authority and there is no signature of transferring authority,” said the bench. It issued notices to Naladkar and Kadam, seeking replies on October 8. Since Thite took charge on August 30, the bench said it is not granting any relief. Before dictating the order, the judges gave the government the option to withdraw the transfer order. “We are concerned with the decision­making authority and nothing else. If this is the way implementation of the Act is done!” Justice Oka lamented. He also said, “If we find the order (of transfer) is wrong, we can always have it set aside.”

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