'Employee has no 'right' to claim choice of posting'

'Employee has no 'right' to claim choice of posting'

Courts cannot ascertain credentials of transferred employees, says SC

'Employee has no 'right' to claim choice of posting'

A bench of justices Tarun Chatterjee and R M Lodha anguished over the manner in which the Allahabad High Court had ordered transfer of an employee on the ground that he had a bad reputation.

“A government servant has no vested right to remain posted at a place of his choice nor can he insist that he must be posted at one place or the other. He is liable to be transferred in the administrative exigencies from one place to other.

“Transfer of an employee is not only an incident inherent in the terms of appointment but also implicit as an essential condition of service in the absence of any specific indication to the contrary. No government can function if the government servant insists that once appointed or posted in a particular place or position, (he or she) should continue in such place or position till they desire,” the apex court observed.

The apex court passed the observation while upholding an appeal filed by Rajendra Singh, a sub-registrar, challenging the direction of the High Court to transfer him to Hapur from Ghaziabad on the petition of his contemporary Karvendra Singh.

Karvendra Singh had moved the High Court on the ground that he was actually working at Ghaziabad and questioned Rajendra Singh’s transfer to the place on the ground that he had a “dubious reputation.”

The High Court on the basis of Karvendra’s petition directed Rajendra’s transfer by taking the view that he had a bad reputation. It, however, upheld the transfer of Karvendra. Aggrieved, both the employees approached the apex court.

The apex court wondered as to why the High Court while dealing with the legality of a transfer went into the question of an employee's credentials, which is the government's responsibility.

“The courts are always reluctant in interfering with the transfer of an employee unless such transfer is vitiated by violation of some statutory provisions or suffers from mala fides,” it observed.

“It is difficult to fathom why the High Court went into the comparative conduct and integrity of the petitioner (Karvendra) and respondent No 5 (Rajendra) while dealing with a transfer matter. The High Court should have appreciated the true extent of scrutiny into a matter of transfer and the limited scope of judicial review,” the apex court said.

The SC said it was for the state government or for that matter Inspector General of Registration to decide about the place of posting of the sub-registrars.

“We are pained to observe that the High Court seriously erred in deciding as to whether respondent No 5 was a competent person to be posted at Ghaziabad-IV as sub-registrar.

The exercise undertaken by the High Court did not fall within its domain and was rather uncalled for,” the bench said.

“The only question required to be seen was whether transfer of respondent No 5 was actuated with malafides or otherwise in violation of statutory rules.

The transfer of respondent No. 5 was not found to suffer from any of these vices.

The High Court went into the competence and suitability of respondent No 5 for such posting. It is here that the High Court fell into a grave error.

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