Kerala HC Dismisses Writ Petition of Senior Assistant Seeking to Set Aside the Order of Transfer

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On 10 August, Kerala high court dismissed the writ petition filed by Shyam M S seeking to set aside the order of transfer passed against him.

Facts of the Case

Shyam M S, the petitioner was working as a Senior Assistant in the Thiruvananthapuram Airport Fire Service. He received transfer order transferring him from Trivandrum Airport to Kalaburagi Airport in Karnataka. He also submitted the representation before The Director, Airport Authority of India. He joined the service as a Junior Assistant (FS) on 13.2.2006. In the year 2011, he was promoted to the post of Senior Assistant (FS). He has completed 14 years of continuous service in the Airport Authority of India at Thiruvananthapuram.

The seniority list of Fire Service Non-Executive was notified in the website of the Authority, inviting options for transfer/exemption from employees for the year 2020. The option received from the various employees was considered by the competent authority, and thereafter, the transfer order was passed. The transfer policy categorises airports as 1 year/2 year/3 year station/general station based on the facilities available near to the airports. To avoid hardship faced by the employees in tenure stations, tenure seniority list was prepared, to transfer the employees who have completed the above tenures to non-tenure stations. The Kalaburagi Airport in Karnataka State was operationalised only recently.

As per the tenure seniority list, Shyam has been transferred from Trivandrum Airport to Kalaburagi Airport. He didn’t submit his option for transfer or to exempt him from the transfer. He represented to exempt him from the transfer, stating the medical grounds of his parents and that the Trivandrum Airport is a PPP Airport. His representation was forwarded to the competent authority at the Regional Head Quarters for consideration.

Petitioner’s Argument

The petitioner, Shyam M S argued that his juniors and batch mates were promoted without considering the seniority and eligibility. He argued that the transfer certificate is causing him great hardship and untold suffering. He argued that the transfer order would affect his rights to carry on his profession. He also argued that his mother is a cancer patient and his father is a heart patient and asked to recall his transfer order and retain at Trivandrum Airport.

Defendant’s Argument

The respondent argued that seniority list of Fire Service Non- Executive was notified in the website of the Authority, inviting options for transfer/exemption from employees for the year.

The options received from the various employees were considered by the competent authority, and thereafter, the transfer order was passed. But he didn’t reply for the same. The respondent also argued that they have specifically contended that the Public-Private Partnership of the Trivandrum Airport has nothing to do with the retention of an employee due for under the category. Any employee due for tenure station can be transferred from Trivandrum Airport, provided with replacement to the station. Shri.S.Sanjeev who has opted for a transfer to Trivandrum Airport has been transferred from Calicut, as the petitioner’s replacement. The respondent argued that, similarly, many employees in the Fire Cadre were transferred in and out in six PPP Airports.

Court’s Observation

The court referred into the case  Shilpi  Bose and  Others  v. the State of  Bihar and Others [(1991) Supp 2 SCC 659] wherein the courts should not interfere with a transfer order which is made in the 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 another.

Again in the State of M.P. and Another v. S.S.Kourav and others [(1995) 3 SCC 270] wherein the Courts or Tribunals are not appellate forums to decide on the transfer of officers on administrative grounds. The wheels of administration should be allowed to run smoothly and the Courts or Tribunals are not expected to interdict the working of the administrative system by transferring the officers to proper places.

Court also referred into Somesh Tiwari v. Union of India and Others [(2009) 2 SCC 592] wherein 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 inter alia malafide on the part of the authority is proved.

Court’s Order

Hearing both sides the court said, that the petitioner does not have a case that there is any malice or statutory infraction as it relates to him and find that there is no illegality in transfer order passed by the respondent, which is an incident of service. Thus writ petition was dismissed.


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