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N.R. Sajila Vs. Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit and Ors. - (High Court of Kerala) (23 Jun 2020)

Courts should not interfere with a transfer order made in public interest unless the same is in violation of any mandatory statutory rule



The Petitioner is aggrieved by her transfer from the Thrissur Regional Centre to Tirur Campus of the first Respondent. The Petitioner challenges Exhibits P5 and P7, on the grounds that, the transfer is not supported by any administrative reasons and that the orders are utterly malafide and abuse of exercise of power violating the Petitioner's fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 16, 21 and 335 of the Constitution of India, 1950.

The Petitioner has a further grievance that there are number of employees who are continuing in Thrissur Campus for the last many years, some of them for more than 20 years, but none of them have been touched. The Petitioner being a member of a scheduled caste community, who has entered into an inter-caste marriage, has been discriminated on irrelevant considerations. Therefore, Exhibits P5 and P7, to the extent it transfers the Petitioner from Thrissur to Tirur, may be quashed.

The sole question that arises for consideration in present writ petition is whether Exhibits P5 and P7 orders, transferring the Petitioner from the Thrissur Regional Centre to the Tirur Campus of the 1st Respondent, are legal and justifiable.

The scope of judicial review, in matters relating to transfer and posting of employees under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, is well settled in a host of judicial pronouncements by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. In Shilpi Bose and Others v. State of Bihar and Others, the Hon'ble Supreme Court that, the Courts should not interfere with a transfer order which are made in public interest and for administrative reasons unless the transfer orders are made in violation of any mandatory statutory rule or on the ground of mala fide. A Government servant holding a transferable post has no vested right to remain posted at one place or the other, he is liable to be transferred from one place to other.

Again, in Somesh Tiwari v. Union of India and Others, the Hon'ble Supreme Court observed that, indisputably an order of transfer is an administrative order. There cannot be any doubt whatsoever that transfer, which is ordinarily an incident of service should not be interfered with, save in cases where malafide on the part of the authority is proved.

On a reading of Exhibits P-1 to P-3 complaints submitted by the Petitioner in October to December 2019, it is evident that they substantially pertain to the obstacles faced by the Petitioner and the insubordination of some Faculty members, and the posting of the third Respondent as Director. Other than for the said unsubstantiated allegations, there is no material to prove that the transfer was a result of mala fide action. Therefore, there is no malafides in the transfer of the Petitioner, as alleged.

Orders passed against the Petitioner are not vitiated by malafides, but are passed to meet administrative exigencies and are an incident of service, and is therefore legal. There is no ground warranting interference by this Court, in the exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, in the transfer of the petitioner as per Exhibits P-5 and P-7 orders. Resultantly, this writ petition is dismissed.

Relevant : Shilpi Bose and Ors. vs. State of Bihar and Ors. MANU/SC/0147/1991; Somesh Tiwari vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. MANU/SC/8494/2008


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