High Court sets aside transfer of senior cops

High Court sets aside transfer of senior cops

Directs govt to obtain recommendation from Police Establishment Board

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday set aside the transfer of two senior police officers directing the Police Establishment Board to make an ‘appropriate recommendation’ to the government within seven days.

Former Additional Commissioner of Police T Suneel Kumar and Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr T B Pawar had moved the High Court challenging their transfers.

Kumar, who was serving as Additional Commissioner (Law and Order), Bangalore, was transferred as Inspector General of Police and Commander of Anti Naxal Force, Udupi.

He had moved the Central Administrative Tribunal claiming that his transfer violated the Karnataka Police Act since the government had not obtained recommendations from the Police Establishment Board (PEB). The Tribunal, which initially granted a two-week stay, later dismissed the petition, refusing to stall the transfer. Kumar went in appeal to the High Court.

“In the light of the peculiar facts of this case, we deem it proper to direct the PEB to consider the cases of all these persons in accordance with law and make an appropriate recommendation to the government within seven days. On receipt of these recommendations, the government is to issue orders of transfer within 48 hours,” the Division Bench comprising Justices N Kumar and B Manohar said while setting aside the Tribunal order.

The Bench took a dim view of the CAT for not quashing the transfer order of Kumar. It said that while the Tribunal in an earlier case had held that recommendations from the PEB were mandatory to effect transfers.

“Yet,  for strange reasons, it went ahead and refused to set aside the impugned order, with an advice to the government not to do so in future,” the Bench noted.

The Bench said the model code of conduct for the Assembly election should not be an obstacle in acting on its order. It said that taking or not taking charge of the office will have no effect on deciding the validity of an order of transfer.

Once the transfer order is quashed, the parties are relegated the posts where they stood prior to the order of the transfer.

“Therefore, the order of the Tribunal is unreliable and liable to be set aside,” the Bench noted while stating that the officers will continue in their present positions till new recommendations are made by the PEB.

Compensation to farmers

The High Court on Tuesday directed Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) to pay an compensation of Rs 25,000 each to 22 farmers who had given away their land to the Board and had not received proper compensation.  

A division bench comprising Justice K L Manjunath and Justice Ravi Malimath, hearing the petition filed by the farmers, directed KIADB to pay compensation to the farmers with 15 per cent interest from the date when the Board had taken possession of the land.

KIADB had acquired 400 acres of land at Kamagere village in Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district to set up a sugar mill.

KIADB had given approval to Bannari Amman, a Tamil Nadu-based industrial group, to set up a sugar mill on the 400-acre land located close to a reserve forest area.

In 2011, the Biligiri Ranga Temple (BRT) Hills was declared a wildlife sanctuary and a tiger reserve and the sugar plant was located in an ecologically sensitive zone.

It was alleged that the sugar mill had also not sought approval of the National Wildlife Board. KIADB faced the High Court’s ire for paying only 50 per cent of the compensation amount to the farmers and getting the forest land denotified. The farmers filed a petition seeking complete compensation.