Bombay HC upholds transfer of Professor accused of hostile relations with nursing staff
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court recently upheld the transfer order of a former professor from R A Podar Ayurveda Medical College to Government Ayurved College, Nanded. The professor was accused of having hostile relations with the nursing staff and other employees, which was allegedly affecting patients.
Observing that the transfer order was passed before the end of her normal tenure to "subserve public interest", a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta dismissed a petition moved by the former gynecology professor against the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal challenging the order of a transfer.
The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, Mumbai by its judgment and order dated January 4, 2019, spurned the petitioner's challenge to an order of transfer. Aggrieved, the professor moved Bombay High Court.
The petitioner in its submission alleged that she was transferred and posted as Professor, Government Ayurved College, Nanded based on two grounds. First, it was issued not in administrative interest but to accommodate another professor at Podar Medical College, and secondly, it was as a measure of penalty. In support of the second ground, the petitioner alleged that a complaint was received by the Dean of Podar Medical College against her and without conducting any inquiry into the veracity of the allegations leveled, therein, she was transferred to the Govt. College.
According to the petitioner, "The impugned transfer order was contrary to the provisions of the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005 and, therefore, liable to be set aside."
The petitioner further contended that the Dean of the institution had earlier appreciated her work, yet, "On the pretext that a complaint had been received evincing that the petitioner's relation with the nursing staff and other employees was far from cordial, a move was initiated to transfer the petitioner prior to the expiry of her normal tenure at Podar Medical College culminating in her unceremonious exit from the office which she had been holding in Mumbai."
Learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner further contended that the Tribunal failed to apply its mind and erroneously applied the law laid down in the decision of the Supreme Court in Union of India and others vs. Janardhan Debanath. According to him, "the Supreme Court in paragraph 14 of the said decision had highlighted the need of a prima facie satisfaction being recorded on the contemporary reports about the occurrence complained of necessitating the transfer which, regrettably, was missing in the present case and which, the Tribunal failed to notice."
"Such argument, may not be available in a case of the present nature where there are statutory provisions regulating transfer and the employer is authorised to order a 'transfer', as defined in section 2(i), in the manner prescribed. We have not found any infirmity in the decision-making process leading to the impugned transfer, so as to warrant interference. For the reasons aforesaid, we find no merit in this writ petition. The same stands dismissed. However, the parties shall bear their own costs."