Chennai: The Madras High Court has said that it cannot interfere with the routine administration of the state or its organisations. "In the event of such routine interference in administration, more specifically in transfer cases, the very discipline and functioning of the administration would be paralysed", the court observed
Justice S.M. Subramaniam made the observation while dismissing a petition filed by one G. Sankaralingam, challenging an order of the District Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Officer, Villupuram, transferring him from the Adi Dravidar Welfare Boys Hostel at Thumboor to Tindivanam.
The petitioner, a cook, said there was a surprise inspection conducted by a team from DVAC and the police recovered Rs 2,000. He was able to establish that the amount was withdrawn from his bank account and no action was taken in this regard. Subsequently, he was transferred citing this reason, he said.
Justice Subramaniam said the court was of the opinion that transfers could be issued on various grounds. Mr Sankaralingam's transfer order stated that he was transferred on administrative grounds and in the interest of administration. This apart, the petitioner was transferred from Thumboor to Tindivanam, which was not far away and located within the same district.
Transfers were imminent in respect of public servants, whenever a wide complaint against the employee was made known to the competent authorities. In certain circumstances, there may not be evidence to prosecute the employee or to initiate departmental disciplinary proceedings, the judge said.
The competent authorities may be of the opinion that continuance of a public servant in a particular place would cause inconvenience as well as a difficult situation for public administration.
In those circumstances, transfers alone were the remedies. Therefore, it was not necessary that there must be a transfer only after conducting an enquiry or initiation of disciplinary proceedings, Justice Subramaniam said.
The judge said administrative transfers were the prerogative of the department concerned and the competent authorities were the best ones to assess the situation and take action. Those competent authorities should act in the public interest and only in the event of any illegality or some personal motive could the employee approach the court for appropriate remedy.
Justice Subramaniam said that in the absence of any such legal ground, routine administrative transfers can never be interfered with by the constitutional courts.
"The place or post can never be claimed as a matter of choice by the public servants. All public servants are dutybound to perform their duties diligently and with utmost care and devotion. This being the basic principles to be followed and erosion in this regard can never be tolerated either by the officials or by the courts", he said.
The judge said the judicial review of administrative transfers must be exercised with restraint and only in exceptional circumstances can such orders can be interfered with by the High Court.
This being the scope of judicial review of administrative transfers, the court was of the opinion that the petitioner had not established strong acceptable grounds for the purpose of interference in the order of transfer, Justice Subramaniam said and dismissed the petition....