APanchayat Development Officer (PDO), who challenged a transfer order to a place only 40 km away from his existing posting has prompted the Karnataka High Court to direct a re-look into the 2013 transfer guidelines.
The HC noted that the government is the biggest litigant in the courts and many cases are related to postings and transfers in the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal (KSAT) and then the same come on appeal in the high court.
The court felt “positive measures can prove fruitful in saving the precious time of both the Tribunal and this Court.” “It was high time that the respondent-State also took up some responsibility in having a re-look into 2013 Transfer Guidelines. The State being the largest litigant owes a duty to the justice delivery dispensation,” it said.
R D Ramadas, a PDO from Mysuru, was transferred to Beerihundi Grama Panchayat in Mysuru Taluk. The incumbent PDO, Kullegowda, challenged this in the KAT on ground that the transfer was premature and in violation of the transfer Guidelines 2013 of the state government.
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He claimed that a ‘Group C Officer’ had an assured stay of four years in a particular post. The KAT set aside the transfer order.
Ramdas now approached the High Court, which called for records of the transfer and found that though the order was premature, it had the prior approval of the Chief Minister.
The CM had given his approval on September 4, 2021 and the transfer was ordered on April 12, 2022.
The HC held that the transfer was as per the guidelines, which says that a premature transfer can be effected with the prior approval of the CM.
Apart from setting aside the tribunal order and restoring the transfer order, the HC also noted some issues with the Tribunal. It observed that both the posts were within the same taluk of Mysuru abutting Mysuru city.
“The two posts are separated by a distance of meagre 40 kms,” and was next to a fully developed city like Mysuru, the HC said. Hence, the transfer would not have caused any great difficulty.
“Transfer applications occupy a major chunk of the litigation before the Tribunal and it is time for the respondent-State to look into the concept of communicable distance and also the distinction between areas, which are well equipped with all basic necessities,” the court said.
Disposing of the petition, the division bench of Justices G Narendar and C M Joshi, in a recent judgement, gave a direction to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms.
“We are of the considered opinion that the Principal Secretary, DPAR shall look into the observations made by this Court and draw appropriate measures and place them before the Government for taking steps to have a re-look into the 2013 Guidelines,” the court said.