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The Rajasthan High Court recently ruled that ordinarily employees must not be transferred when they are set to retire within a year.
Reiterating the law reflected in two orders passed by the High Court in the 2016 case of Manjula Patak v State of Rajasthan, Justice Alok Sharma held,
“The cumulative effect of the two orders aforesaid entails an enunciation by the court that the transfer of an employee within a year of his imminent superannuation deserves interference.
The thought process behind the two orders referred to above, appears to have been that a superannuating employee, in the last year of his service, should not ordinarily be disturbed by the State, as a model employer, lest the exercise entail unwarranted inconvenience and difficulties for him in post retiral settlement.“
The Court was hearing a challenge to an order passed by the Rajasthan Civil Services Appellate Tribunal, Jaipur in March this year.
The case had its genesis in a government order dated March 1, whereby Anil Kumar Jain, a Regional Transport Officer (RTO) was transferred from Alwar to Jaipur. Consequently, another RTO, Rani Jain, was posted in Alwar.
However, Anil Kumar Jain challenged his transfer before Services Tribunal, given that he was due to retire six months later on September 30, 2019.
In this regard, Rule 80 of Rajasthan Civil Services (Pension) Rules 1996 was cited by Jain. This rule provides for the initiation of proceedings for preparing pension papers of employees who are to retire within two years. It was noted that the intent of the rule is to ensure that an employee set to retire would get his pension papers processed so that he can avail his retirement benefits in a timely manner.
Further Manjula Patak’s case was also cited to submit that an employee who is to retire within one year should not be ordinarily transferred. This is because such a transfer, if without an obvious cause, would cause avoidable disruption at the fag end of a government servant’s career and create difficulties in post retiral settlement, submitted Anil Kumar Jain.
The Tribunal ruled in his favour and quashed the transfer. A consequential government order also reinstated Anil Kumar Jain to his Alwar post. This order was then challenged before the High Court by Rani Jain, who had commenced working at Alwar by then.
Justice Sharma, however, found no merit in this challenge. He noted that ordinarily, the Court would not interfere in an employer’s discretionary power to transfer an employee. However, he proceeded to observe,
“Policy and practice of the State Government are also to be reckoned…to evaluate an attack founded on arbitrariness against an order of transfer.”
Bearing this in mind, the Court observed that Anil Kumar Jain’s transfer was made arbitrarily and shortly before he was due to retire. It was pointed out that no justification was given by the State in transferring him six months before retirement. Justice Sharma found that this transfer was in violation of the law laid down in Manjula Patak’s case, thereby warranting the Court’s interference.
“In the instant case the transfer order…vide which the respondent No 3 was transferred and which has been quashed by the Tribunal, sought to displace the respondent No. 3…a mere six months before his superannuation. That was in the cross hair of the inarticulate by yet principal premise of the order of this court in the case of Manjula Pathak.”
Therefore, the Court dismissed the petition and upheld the Tribunal’s order quashing Anil Kumar Jain’s transfer.
Advocate Kinshuk Jain appeared for Anil Kumar Jain in the matter. Advocate SS Hora appeared for the petitioner, Rani Kumar Jain.
Read the Order: