Read Order: Mohit Kumar v. Bank of Broda and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, June 16, 2022: While dealing with a Writ Petition against the order of the respondent-authorities transferring the petitioner from Fatehgarh Sahib Branch (Chandigarh Region) to Gandhi Nagar, Gift City, Gujarat, in view of the Inter-Zonal Transfer Exercise for the year 2022-23 under “Longest Stay Criteria”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that the transfer of an employee is an incident of service and the same cannot be interfered with by the Court, in a casual manner. 

The Bench of Justice Rajesh Bhardwaj held, “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and law settled, the interference by the Court in the transfer of the employee is in limited circumstances… In view of the law settled, the executive instructions/policy also do not confer any fundamental right on the employee for granting him the place of posting of his choice.”

The present writ petition was filed against the order of the Regional Head (DGM), Regional Office, Chandigarh, whereby the petitioner in view of the transfer policy of December 31, 2020, was ordered to be transferred from Fatehgarh Sahib Branch (Chandigarh Region) to Gandhi Nagar, Gift City, Gujarat, in view of the Inter-Zonal Transfer Exercise for the year 2022-23 under “Longest Stay Criteria”.

The petitioner joined as Officer-JMGS Scale-I at Mumbai Branch in 2010 and in 2014 he was transferred to Chandigarh and thereafter, in 2017 he got married. In 2019, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank were merged into the Bank of Baroda, after which a new transfer policy dated December 31, 2020, was approved by the Board of Directors. Under this policy, the petitioner was transferred from Chandigarh Branch to Fatehgarh Sahib Branch. 

In response to the invitation by the Deputy General Manager (Regional Head), Regional Office Chandigarh, the petitioner submitted his willingness for Inter Zonal Transfer to New Delhi Zone from Chandigarh Zone. But, the same was declined by the respondent-authorities holding the petitioner ineligible, as a result, the petitioner filed representation which was rejected by the Assistant General Manager (Deputy Regional Head), Regional Office, Chandigarh. 

Eventually, the impugned order was passed transferring the petitioner as Inter-Zonal Transfer under the ‘Longest Stay Criteria’ from Fatehgarh Sahib Branch (Chandigarh Region) to Gandhi Nagar, Gift City, Gujarat. Aggrieved by the same, the petitioner immediately filed a representation which is pending consideration.

It was the case of the petitioner’s counsel that as the petitioner completed 6 years of service in Chandigarh Zone, hence, he was eligible for giving willingness for Inter Zonal Transfer. He has also relied upon Clause 4.2(a) of the Transfer Policy, wherein, the DROs may opt for transfer/give willingness for transfer to a Zone of their choice after a period of 6 years since the date of their appointment. He submitted that the petitioner duly represented his willingness but the same was illegally declined holding the petitioner not eligible. 

It was further contended that the view taken by the respondent-authorities in holding the petitioner not eligible was simply on the ground that he did not apply under the prior policy and thus, he was not eligible. Further, it was argued that the petitioner was fully eligible under the “Longest Stay Criteria” as he completed 6 years of service in the Chandigarh Zone. 

At the very outset, the Court noted that the precise grievance of the petitioner was that under the “Longest Stay Criteria” he was eligible for giving his willingness in which he opted to be transferred to New Delhi Zone. However, the Court noted that the respondent-authorities after considering his request, found that Clause 4.1 of the Transfer Policy provided for re-transfer of the officers to the Zone from where he was last transferred. It was observed that admittedly, the petitioner was transferred from New Delhi Zone to Chandigarh on the compassionate ground i.e. on his own request. 

Further, the Court perused the Transfer Policy and from such perusal, it was observed that the request for transfer would be considered by the Bank as per the administrative feasibility. Admittedly, Justice Bhardwaj noted, 

“… the grievances of the petitioner have been considered by the respondent-Bank on the earlier occasions as well subject to the administrative feasibilities and that in any case do not give any legal right to the petitioner for enforcing the respondent in accepting his request against his transfer.”

Thus, considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the law settled to the effect that the interference by the Court in the transfer of the employee is in limited circumstances, the Court was not inclined to allow the writ petition. Also, Justice Bhardwaj opined that the Apex Court in a plethora of judicial precedents laid down that the transfer is an incident of service and the same cannot be interfered with, in a casual manner. 

Thus, keeping in view the service jurisprudence pertaining to the transfer and the law settled by Apex Court, the Court was not inclined to interfere in the impugned order passed. 

The transfer being incident of service cannot be interfered by this Court”, held the Court while adding that the petitioner failed to produce anything on record in proving the impugned order to be arbitrary. 

Accordingly, the Court opined that in view of the law settled, the executive instructions/policy also do not confer any fundamental right on the employee for granting him the place of posting of his choice. 

The writ was thus dismissed. 

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