A division bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar was hearing a petition filed by senior police inspector Sanjeev Kokil, challenging his transfer from the MRA Marg police station in south Mumbai to Amravati and then the Armed Police L Division in Mumbai.
Kokil had approached the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal first which refused relief, following which he appealed in the High Court.
According to Kokil, under the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfer and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, public servants cannot be transferred before expiry of three-year tenure posting.
The High Court, however, refused to accept this argument and said, "Although the Act envisages tenure posting and tenure transfer to be not less than three years on a given post it does not extricate the competent authority from transferring government servants in special cases before completion of tenure posting."
The state government, through a letter dated February 7, 2011, approved the proposal to transfer Kokil because of complaints received against him while working in MRA Marg police station. Kokil's advocate A V Anturkar argued that even if the transfer is considered to be a special case, the authority has to cite reasons behind the decision.
"The transfer was based on the proposal mooted by the competent authority which has been considered by authorities at different levels like section officer, under secretary, principal secretary, Minister (Home) right up to the Chief Minister. After approval of all these authorities, it was decided to transfer the petitioner (Kokil)," the court said.
It further held that if superior authorities including the Chief Minister have made endorsement of approving the proposal, it presupposes that they agreed with every aspect mentioned in the proposal.
The bench said it is not a case where Kokil was transferred to some remote and inaccessible part of the state by way of punishment. "The transfer was necessitated for administrative reasons and cannot be considered as punitive," it said.