Supreme Court Directs Sympathetic Consideration of Representations for Inter-Cadre Transfer

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Introduction

Willful disobedience of the order of the court has been strictly scrutinized by the Supreme Court in various decisions. The Supreme Court in this case recognizes the tactful obedience and implementation of the order of both the Central Administrative Tribunal and the Delhi High Court. However, considering the willingness of the Appellant to render services for the welfare of the people, partly allowed the appeal. 

Brief Facts

The Appellant filed a contempt petition before the Delhi High Court against the Respondent. The same was rejected by the High Court, hence, the appeal. The contempt petition was filed against violation and disobedience of the judgment of the High Court in a writ petition.

The Appellant, an IAS officer, was subject to a disciplinary proceeding initiated by the State of Bihar based on a FIR. The Appellant thereafter filed writ petition alleging victimization and persecution. The criminal proceedings were quashed by the High Court. The Appellant requested for inter-state transfer. Thereafter, a writ petition was filed before the Supreme Court. The court directed the Central Government to look into the grievance of the Appellant. The Appellant’s transfer was declined. 

The Appellant then filed an application before the Central Administrative Tribunal (“CAT”). The CAT directed the Union of India to consider the case of the Appellant. Aggrieved by the said order, the State of Bihar filed a writ petition, however, the Union of India did not wish to challenge the judgment. The High Court dismissed the petition and directed the Central Government to initiate a transfer of the Appellant outside Bihar.

The Central government then communicated the Appellant to convey consent to be either transferred to Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, or Manipur. Aggrieved by the communication, the Appellant filed a contempt petition. The same was dismissed. 

Appellant’s Arguments

It is submitted that the order of the Delhi High Court is not complied with. It was contended that the Respondent was supposed to issue an order in regard to the inter-cadre transfer of the Appellant. Additionally, it was not open for the Responded to seek the consent of the Appellant. Hence, the communication of the Respondent was argued to be contemptuous.

Solicitor General’s Arguments

It was contended that no contempt was committed by the Respondent. It was submitted that the Delhi High Court directed the Central Government to take a decision regarding the inter-cadre transfer of the Appellant as per law. Therefore, the choice is of the Central Government to appropriately transfer the Appellant. 

Court’s View and Decision

The Court considered the Order of the Central Administrative Tribunal and of the High Court. Wherein, the CAT ordered the Central Government to consider the transfer of the Appellant and the High Court directed the Central Government to consider his transfer outside the State of Bihar. Hence, the Court observed that there was no wilful disobedience of the order of the Court or the Tribunal by the Central Government. 

The Court further observed as follows:

“There is no doubt that it is the Central Government which is the authority competent to transfer the appellant from one cadre to another. We are also of the view that the appellant cannot insist that he should be transferred to the State of Haryana.”     

However, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court granted liberty to the Appellant to make representation to the Respondent Department. The appropriate department was directed to consider the representation sympathetically and make an appropriate decision. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.


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