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A deputed employee can be repatriated back to his home department at any time: High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

A government employee who has been deputed to another department does not have the vested right to continue in the deputed department for as long as he likes and his employers have the right to repatriate him back to the home department whenever they please. This was held in the judgement passed by a single member bench of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir consisting of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey in the case of Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat v Jammu and Kashmir [WP(C) No. 618/2021] pronounced on the 24th of August 2021.

The petitioner, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat was a government employee of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. He had been deputed to a post at the J&K Cement industry which comes under the Jammu and Kashmir Industries limited. The petitioner stated that he rose to a high level at his deputed post due to his dedication and perseverance. However his dreams were shattered when Jammu and Kashmir Industries Limited which used to make huge profits began incurring huge losses leading to it being declared a sick industry. As a result of this numerous staff members from the Jammu and Kashmir Industries Limited were adjusted or deployed in other Government Departments so as to reduce the JKIL’s expenditure on account of salary for these employees. The petitioner is one of these employees that were repatriated and he filed the present petition impugning the order of repatriation.

The government took up the matter with the Industries and Commerce Department and deployed the surplus staff in other departments only after obtaining the requite ‘No Objection’ from the Industries and Commerce Department. In the light the, the respondents pointed out that their action was completely legal and followed all necessary steps of procedure. The petitioner however contended that despite having served the respondents and discharging his duties to the best satisfaction of his superiors, he was forced to leave his deputation and be repatriated back to his home department. It was observed by the Court that “The basic principle underlying deputation itself is that the person concerned can always and at any time be repatriated to his parent department to serve in his substantive position therein at the instance of either of the departments and there is no vested right in such a person to continue for long on deputation or get absorbed in the department to which he had gone on deputation.”. This view was mirrored by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Kunal Nanda v Union of India & Anr [AIR 2000 Supreme court 2076] and by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir in the case of Dr. Mohammad Deen v State of J&K & Others [KLJ 2000 640].

Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey can be quoted as stating that “Reversion of a Deputationist can be at any stage, either by the lending or the borrowing Department and that a Deputationist has no vested right to remain on the cadre of the Department where deputed. There, thus, is nothing wrong in repatriation of the Petitioners on the cadre posts of their parent Department which they were holding in substantive position”. Thus there was no merit found in the petition and it was dismissed accordingly.

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