It is for the Competent Authority to decide the place of posting of an employee in exigency : Delhi High Court

As much as inconvenient a transfer could be, the terms of the transfer can only be validated by competent authorities and if they find it to be just, then it requires no interference of the court. This was held in the judgment passed by a single judge bench comprising HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE V. KAMESWAR RAO, in the matter SHRI SANJEEV KAPOOR v. NTPC LTD. AND ANR [W.P.(C) 14006/2019, CM Nos. 55947/2019, 135/2020, 4762/2020], dealt with an issue where the petitioner filed a petition challenging the transfer of the petitioner from the post of Jr. Chemist at NTPC, Faridabad, Haryana to the post of Jr. Officer, Energy Efficiency Monitor Group (‘at the Regional Inspection Office, Chennai, Tamil Nadu as vindictive and in violation of the transfer policy of the respondents.

The transfer order which was received by the petitioner on December 11, 2019 bypassed the existing company procedures such as the Whistle Blower Policy; contrary to the recommendations of the Medical Board, change of cadre, i.e., from Jr. Chemist to Jr. Officer (EEMG) which according to the petitioner does not exist at the RIO of the respondent company at Chennai.

The petitioner joined the respondent Company on July 15, 1991 as an Assistant (DM Plant) Chemistry Section at NTPC, Anta Gas Power Project, Rajasthan through an open recruitment advertisement for vacancy at the Anta Gas Power Project. On promotion he was re-designated as Jr. Chemist.

Counsel who appeared for the petitioner stated that the impugned order is not based on any administrative requirement but has been effected for extraneous reasons. He stated that the respondents’ exercise of power in issuing transfer order is an example of malice in law. According to him the earlier two transfers of the petitioner were also motivated with malice. He stated that when the petitioner was posted at NTPC, Anta, the petitioner had served as General Secretary of Rashtriya Taap Vidyut Karamchari Sangathan (‘workers’ union’) from the year 1999 onwards. Being an office bearer of the workers’ union, he was involved in various issues concerning benefits of the employees and had initiated many litigations on behalf of the workers’ union. During his tenure he had also raised various issues concerning corruption and performance related payment issues before various fora. He stated that it was because of his functioning and taking part in the activities of the workers’ union, petitioner’s activities were seen as problematic and it is for these reasons, he was shifted to the new post.

Counsel for the respondent stated that that the respondents offered the petitioner various options for posting nearer to Jaipur which were all turned down by the petitioner. Mr. Ghose has taken a stand that no cause of action has arisen within the jurisdiction of this Court, as the petitioner is himself residing and working in the State of Haryana and has been transferred to the State of Tamil Nadu which has no nexus with the jurisdiction of this Court. He has also argued that the petitioner being a workman under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 should exhaust alternative remedies available to him.

After hearing both the parties The Hon’ble Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and held that it is not for the employee to state that there is no vacancy or that no work exists at the place where he is being transferred.

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Judgement reviewed by – Vaishnavi Raman

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