Himachal Pradesh High Court Upholds Transfer Order Made by Vice-Chancellor, Reiterates Law on Malafide Intent

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Through the present Writ Petition, the Petitioner challenged his transfer order from one campus of the University to another. The Petitioner claimed that it has been issued with malafide intent. The Court rejected his appeal, deeming it to be self-formulated. 

Brief Facts of the Case

The Petitioner stated that after he got promoted to the post of Superintendent, he was transferred due to the following reason; First, the Petitioner held the Vice-Chancellor (Respondent No.2) responsible for a shortcoming of some amount of money which he owed. Due to this, the Respondents to take revenge on the Petitioner removed the latter from the Physical Verification Committee. The Petitioner was the Chairman of the Committee, seeking to hold the Vice-Chancellor accountable for the shortage of money. 

Second, the Vice-Chancellor transferred the Petitioner from one department to another and also did not approve allotment of accommodation, they were seen as eligible for. 

Lastly, eight people were promoted by the Respondent University (Respondent No.1) and they remained in the university. Four of the incumbents, including the Petitioner, were promoted as Superintendents and were posted outside the University. The Petitioner claimed that his juniors were kept in the university but he was transferred. 

Contrary to this, the Respondent University and the Vice-Chancellor argued that the Petitioner was removed from the Committee by all the members. Thus, the decision was taken by the committee together. Further, when the Petitioner was promoted, his new position was not available at the campus he was working in. Thus, he was transferred to another campus where the post was available. 

Arguments Before the Court

The Petitioner claimed that the Vice-Chancellor has adopted a revengeful approach and have acted with a vindictive attitude, due to the aforementioned reasons. 

However, the Vice-Chancellor claimed that all of the actions he took was in course of his duty. It was claimed that the Petitioner filed the present petition, misconstruing the said action.

Observations Made by the Court

The court quoted several precedents which have dealt with synonymous issues in the past.

The court referred to the case of Sheela Suryavanshi Vs. State of H.P. and others along with other cases. The precedents referred to, all expressed similar opinion and judgment. 

It was held that in cases regarding malafide intent, ”it can be said that the principal test of a due and proper exercise of the power is to ask the question: Was the transfer made for real administrative exigency?”. Thus, if the transfers were made to transfer particular persons with no reasonable purpose, such type of transfers would be termed as malafide. Such transfer orders are liable to be quashed. 

Further, the Court observed that the Vice-Chancellor had a reasonable ground for transferring the Petitioner. It was opined that just because the Vice-Chancellor had to pay the due amount, it does not render every action taken the Vice-Chancellor to be of malafide nature. The Court also observed that the accommodation in question, was in fact, rejected by the Petitioner.

Judgment

Based on the aforementioned statements, the Court held that the Petitioner is himself trying to give malafide colour to the transfer injunction. Further, the Court also held that if the Petitioner does not seek to move to another campus, the promotion can be rejected by him. 


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