The Madras High Court has set aside a single judge order directing en masse transfer of all officials serving in the Vigilance cell of the Chennai Corporation, saying such a direction at best could be issued on a PIL.
A division bench of Justices T S Sivagnanam and Bhavani Subbaroyan Wednesday partly allowed a writ appeal by the Chennai Corporation Commissioner against the order issued by Justice S M Subramaniam on August 30.
The bench noted that en masse transfer order was passed on a petition which was filed by a third party and the direction was issued as if it was a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
The judge ought not have directed en masse transfer of all the officials in vigilance cell of Greater Chennai Corporation without even issuing notice to them which is in gross violation of natural justice, he claimed.
"Though the court is empowered to issue directions concerning the grievance of the petitioners, we find that the direction of en mass transfer of Vigilance cell officials is in the nature of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL)," it observed.
If at all such a direction needs to be given it has to be given by a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice or the Division Bench authorised by the Chief Justice, it said, adding the direction issued for en masse transfer was an "inappropriate one."
The judges eschewed the observations made against the Commissioner of Corporation with respect to illegal constructions and irregularities in the civic body.
"The observations in the Para 36 of the Single Judge order needed to be eschewed as the Commissioner of Corporation of Chennai was not impleaded as respondent in his personal capacity and the usage of strong words against the Stated administration shall stand eschewed," they said.
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