Tamil Nadu

High Court dismisses plea filed by Raj Bhavan official against transfer

Madras High Court

Madras High Court   | Photo Credit: V_Ganesan

He had alleged mala fide intention behind the move

The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed a writ petition filed by an Under Secretary in the Governor’s Secretariat accusing Additional Chief Secretary R. Rajagopal of having transferred him from Chennai to the Raj Bhavan at Udhagamandalam with a mala fide intention of punishing him.

Justice V. Parthiban agreed with Advocate General Vijay Narayan that the petitioner S. Nagaraj had failed to prove the allegation of mala fide beyond any pale of doubt and the court could not interfere with a transfer order, passed due to administrative exigency, on the basis of conjectures and surmises.

“The transfer order has been approved by none other than His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu, the highest constitutional authority of the State against whom no mala fide is alleged nor could be alleged by the petitioner. Once the transfer order has been approved by the highest constitutional dignitary, it is presumed to be bonafide. “Such presumption can be dislodged by the petitioner only if he comes with much stronger case of bias or malafide against His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu and also the first respondent (Mr. Rajagopal) in his personal capacity,” the judge said while upholding the transfer order issued on May 29.

“The plea of mala fide is easier to make against the officials but it is difficult to prove. And unless proof is presented to this court to substantiate that the very foundation of transfer was for a mala fide consideration, this court cannot per se act on such apprehended malice on the part of the officials concerned,” he added.

The judge pointed out that the petitioner was originally appointed as a Steno Typist in the Animal Husbandry department of the State government in August 1983 and got absorbed in the Governor’s Secretariat after being shifted there in 1989. In 1997, there was an attempt to send him back to government service as he was on deputation.

He challenged the repatriation before the High Court and succeeded in obtaining favourable orders from the High Court as well as the Supreme Court in 2013. He also filed a contempt of court petition in 2014 which was listed for hearing in February this year when a Division Bench took serious note of the issue.

It was only after that the petitioner was promoted on February 19 as Under Secretary and given all service benefits, he was posted to the Raj Bhavan at Udhagamandalam. However, on the same day another order was issued cancelling the posting and letting him work in Chennai.

Subsequently, on March 2, he was transferred to Udhagamandalam and asked to vacate the residential quarters in Chennai forthwith but again that order too was cancelled on March 22 and he was transferred back to Chennai. Finally, he was transferred once again to Udhagamandalam on May 29 and hence the present writ petition. Explaining the reason for the cancellation of the February 19 transfer order, the A-G told the court that it was done because of the visit of the President to the Raj Bhavan in Chennai.

He said, the March 2 transfer order was cancelled on March 22 because of the contempt of court proceedings that had been initiated by the petitioner.

Now, that there was a requirement for an officer in the cadre of Under Secretary in Udhagamandalam to draw and pay the salaries to about 40 staff working over there, the petitioner was transferred once again, he said. However, the petitioner claimed that he was being shuttled only for having filed cases against his higher officials.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 12:24:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/high-court-dismisses-plea-filed-by-raj-bhavan-official-against-transfer/article28777297.ece

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