The Madras High Court has granted interim stay of the operation of a State Transport Corporation order transferring a driver who sought some information from his employer under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Granting the stay, Justice K.Chandru ordered notice.

The petitioner R.Ravikumar said he was working as a driver in the Mettupalayam-2 branch of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Coimbatore. Not satisfied with politically affiliated trade unions, he and some other like-minded employees wanted to start a new trade union under the name “Driver conductor social welfare association.”

The petitioner said he was also trying to get redressed the grievances of other employees who proposed to join the new union. In the process, he requested the Public Information Officer to furnish certain details regarding the functioning of the transport corporation. In the reply, certain information was true and the others were irrelevant. Hence, he sought certain details regarding the functioning of the legal section.

However, he did not get the information he needed. All he earned was the officials’ displeasure. In January this year, he was informed that he should go to the branch office and receive his order of transfer. He alleged that the corporation in an act of retaliation passed the transfer order. He also informed the branch manager and officials that unless he was informed of the genuine reason for his transfer, he would not accept the order and would go on a fast with his family in front of the branch office. He submitted a representation to the General Manager in January requesting him to do justice.

After a gap of nearly six months, he was relieved from duty on July 14 and asked to report at the new place of posting, Gudalur, the next day. The relieving order was served before the transfer order dated January 22. The transfer was with the malafide intention to punish him for seeking information under the RTI Act, the petitioner said. Hence, the petition seeking to quash the transfer orders.

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