The High Court, in the exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, does not sit as a Court of Appeal against the orders passed by the learned Central Administrative Tribunal. The power of judicial review must be exercised restrictively and on limited grounds and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by JUSTICE NAVIN CHAWLA in the case of AMARJEET SINGH DAGAR vs. UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS [W.P.(C) 6311/2020] on 07.03.2022.
The facts of the case are that the petitioner, joined as a Section Officer in the Horticulture Wing of the respondent. While in service, the hearing impairment of the petitioner became quite severe. The petitioner, vide Disability Certificate was found suffering from bilateral moderately severe mixed hearing loss with amputation left finger. The petitioner opted for his transfer to the North-Eastern Region, however, soon after joining his place of posting, in the absence of his wife, who was unable to join him at Guwahati due to her permanent job in Delhi NCR, and made it quite impossible for him to live alone in Assam. The petitioner, therefore, seeked a transfer back to New Delhi.
Despite representations made seeking transfer to New Delhi, the petitioner was retained in the Eastern Region. As the functioning of the learned Central Administrative Tribunal had been suspended in light of the nation-wide lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the petitioner approached this Court by way of a writ petition.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the learned Central Administrative Tribunal failed to appreciate that the respondents, apart from stating that the impugned Office Order has been passed on account of ‘exigencies in service’ and in the ‘public interest’ have not disclosed the reason for transferring the petitioner from New Delhi within only thirtyfive days of his posting and that too in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the same is discriminatory as the petitioner had been transferred without taking into consideration his disability status.
The respondent’s counsel submitted that merely because other officers have been allowed to remain in New Delhi for more than three years, does not give a right to the petitioner to also seek continuation of his posting in Delhi.
The Court held that interference under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is permitted only where the Court finds either the transfer order is mala fide or that the service rules prohibit such transfer or that the Authorities issuing the order were not competent to pass the same. It was observed that “in the exercise of its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, does not sit as a Court of Appeal against the orders passed by the learned Central Administrative Tribunal. The power of judicial review must be exercised restrictively and on limited grounds.”
Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman