HC cancels a transfer order on political ground 

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source internet
Shimla, Aug 10
Himachal Pradesh High court on Friday set aside a transfer order by the State Electricity Board , the court found that it was passed on the recommendation of Demi Offico (DO) note on  Political consideration and approved by the Chief minister.
Division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and justice Satyen Vaidya were hearing a writ petition filled by the agreived transferred employee Pardeep Kumar working as Senior Assistant in Andhra Power Project at Chiragon  of Shimla district.
Court said that petitioner’s transfer has neither been effected in administrative exigency nor in public interest, but has been effected on the basis of a D.O. Note issued by someone, who has nothing to do with the Administration and the governance of the respondent- State Electricity Board.
Petitioner maintained that a Shashi Bala gave a Demi Offico note addressing to Chief Minister on March 9  2021and petitioner was transferred vide order dated Apr 17, 2021 from Andhra Power House Division Chirgaon to Electrical Division, HPSEBL, Dalhousie (Chamba).
Petitioner agreived thereby has filed the instant petition for the relief in the court passing 27 paged order allowed his petition.
The  court said that it has repeatedly held that the transfer of officials or officers is required to be effected on the basis of set norms and guidelines; and this power cannot be wielded arbitrarily, mala fide or an exercise against efficient and an independent officer or at the instance of politicians, who have no concern with the working of the department.
” If such transfer is allowed to take effect, it would
embolden the other political cadre and influential local level politicians of all hues to seek the transfer of unfavourable and upright government officials from their pocket boroughs and to see that they are posted somewhere else.
”  This would demoralize the government servants, as the case may be, and may inspire them to amend their ways in such a way of pleasing each and every one whoever come under the banner of some political party.” the division bench maintained.
” If the government machinery has to serve well the people, their functioning and official routines are to be insulated against the extraneous influences. “
If that was not enough, the recommendations
have been made to transfer the employees outside the District to anywhere in District Chamba, District Una and District Kangra. Under what authority such recommendations could have been made, is obviously wanting. But, more disturbing is the fact that these recommendations have been approved on administrative grounds.
We need to strongly emphasize that the government servants including the employees of the Board or Corporation are not at the mercy of the politicians and could not be made subservient to any political person(s).
Court said these public servants are in service by virtue of their hard work and majority of them have entered the service through a selection process and not because of the “blessings of the politicians.
” It is high time that the Employers, be it the State, Board or Corporation, strongly safeguard the  interest of their employees against the mechanization of politicians so as to enable the employees-public servants to discharge their functions without fear and favour and are not compelled to toe the line drawn by the politicians. “
Even otherwise, upholding such kind of transfers
would mean compromising with the rule of law, which is a basic feature of the Constitution, which permeates the whole of the constitutional fabric and is an integral part of the constitutional structure.
The remmendation to transfer the petitioner had been mooted by an extra constitutional authority, who has no role in the functioning and business of the administration, therefore, the impugned transfer of the
petitioner on the basis of such recommendations cannot be sustained and is accordingly quashed.
The Government including the Board or Corporation, as the case may be, would be well advised not to entertain much less encourage such extra constitutional authority to interfere with the administration and governance of the State, or else, there is every likelihood of there being a
complete breakdown of rule of law.
“The voice of dissent cannot be silenced through
administrative arbitrariness. However, we need to clarify that no freedom can be absolute. As freedom walks with its head held high, a shadow of responsibility follows it.
Responsibility is the epiderm within which freedom stays free and secured and secured for all.”
” Constitutional responsibility belongs to this variety and exists as an invisible layer, a membrane, between the right to free speech and the reasonable restrictions that may operate on it. Remove the responsibility from all, it will be chaos.”
We find merit in this petition and the same is accordingly allowed consequently, the impugned transfer order…. is quashed and set aside, court held.

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