Court intervenes in transfer of Divisional Forest Officer - ECAS Punjab

Court intervenes in transfer of Divisional Forest Officer

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2

In an out of the ordinary order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has interfered in the transfer of a Divisional Forest Officer while observing that the order, prima facie, violated the guidelines prescribed by the Punjab Government.

"Though this court would ordinarily be chary of interfering with a transfer, the impugned order of transfer is, prima facie, in clear violation of the guidelines prescribed by the Punjab Government," Justice Sanjay Kumar asserted.

Issuing a notice of motion, Justice Kumar also ordered stay on the operation and effect of the order dated August 19 "insofar as it pertains to the petitioner".

The matter was brought to the High Court's notice by Wilbert Samson through counsel Krishan Singh Dadwal. The Bench was told that the petitioner, a Forest Service Officer in Punjab, was posted as the Regional Manager, Forest Corporation, Amritsar.

Dadwal added he was to attain the age of superannuation and retire from service in February 2022. Yet, he was transferred and posted as the Divisional Forest Officer (Training) at Hoshiarpur, vide an order on August 19 passed by the Punjab Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation.

Referring to state's transfer policy, Dadwal among other things contended officers belonging to Group A and Group B were not to be transferred prior to the completion of two years at a station.

Such officers could be transferred even prior to expiry of two years if special administrative circumstances existed. The guidelines also prescribed that prior approval from the Personnel Department was required.

The guidelines also prescribed that three options were to be obtained, when an employee, going to retire in less than two years, was to be transferred. The guidelines were extended for 2020 on July 17.

"Admittedly, the guidelines have application to the petitioner, a Group A officer. However, no option seems to have been called for from him though he is to retire in less than two years. There is also no indication of any prior approval having been taken from the personnel department," Justice Kumar added.



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