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Himachal Pradesh HC quashes transfer order based on allegation of staff ‘indulging in party politics’

The division bench in its order said: “We were informed in the open court that the author of this letter is the chairperson of the Rural Development Bank which fortifies the contention of the petitioner that she has nothing to do with the working of the administrative department of the petitioner.”

The Himachal Pradesh High Court has quashed a transfer order which was effected through a D.O Letter written by the chairman of state Rural Development Bank chairperson Shashi Bala to CM Jai Ram Thakur. The letter that led to the transfer order had alleged that some employees were indulging in party politics.

The division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Satyen Vaidya set aside the transfer order while disposing of a petition filed by one Pradeep Kumar posted as a senior assistant at Andhara Power House Chirgaon in Rohru and was transferred to Chamba.

Pradeep Kumar appended a letter in his petition written by Shashi Bala to Chief Minister which alleged that some employees are indulging in party politics and they are contaminating the work culture in their organisation, “it is therefore requested to approve their transfer in the larger interest of the public” and mentioned six employees’ name, including Pradeep Kumar.

Kumar challenged his transfer order in the High Court. The division bench in its order said: “We were informed in the open court that the author of this letter is the chairperson of the Rural Development Bank which fortifies the contention of the petitioner that she has nothing to do with the working of the administrative department of the petitioner.”

The bench observed that in this case the transfer has been effected solely on political consideration, that too, at the instance of a person who has no concern with the department of the petitioner.

The bench added: “We are at a complete loss to understand as to the source of power and authority of the author of this letter to make recommendations to the Chief Minister. After all, we are governed by the rule of law.”

“That apart, the transfer cannot be used as a medium to scuttle or choke the voice of dissent. If at all there was any complaint regarding the work and conduct of the persons proposed to be transferred including the petitioner, then the only legitimate legal course open was that of taking action by initiation of disciplinary proceedings,” said the order.

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