Title: RABINDRA KUMAR SAHA versus UNION OF INDIA & ORS.
Judgment delivered on: 18th July, 2023
+ W.P.(C) 9118/2023 & CM APPL. 34697/2023
CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV SACHDEVA
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MANOJ JAIN
The fact that the petitioner’s term has been reduced alone does not mean that the decision was not made with the organization’s best interests in mind. The Delhi High Court denied the plea and ruled that, in using its powers granted by Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, the court cannot substitute its own judgement for that of the appropriate authorities.
Facts of the case
The petitioner requests the quashing of the decision dated 09.06.2023, among other things, on the grounds that it is against the posting policies issued by the respondent on 14.05.1999 and 15.01.2013. Additionally, the petitioner asks the respondent to issue a directive allowing him to keep his position as Chief Engineer (P) at Project Chetak.
By the impugned order dated 09.06.2023, petitioner has been posted to Headquarters, Director General Border Road (DGBR) at New Delhi.
The petitioner challenges the ruling on the grounds that the petitioner’s posting duration was reduced from the customary tenure of two to three years. Furthermore, it is argued that the correct and mandated posting and transfer procedure was not followed in this particular instance. The petitioner’s claims that the proper posting procedure requires the suggestion of posting at his level to be routed via the Additional Director General (HQs) for determination at the level of DGBR.
Analysis of the court
It is a well-established legal principle that the Court, when exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, does not replace the opinion of the competent authority with its own. The decision was made by the appropriate authority, the DGBR, taking into account organisational restrictions and organisational interest. The fact that the petitioner’s term has been reduced on its own does not mean that the decision was not made with the organization’s best interests in mind.
The posting policy, which the petitioner also cites, states that postings must take organisational needs into account and that these needs would take precedence over all other factors.
Given the structure of the organisation, the officer’s personal interests will take a back seat to organisational and functional requirements, which will take precedence over all other factors. There is no question that the Director General of Border Road is the senior and most competent authority with regard to posting. The contested posting order was issued by the Director General Border Road, or DGBR, of the relevant authority.
The competent authority has taken into account both the petitioner’s representation and the ADG (North-West)’s proposal, but due to organisational limitations, he has chosen not to recall either and has rejected the representation.
Additionally, we reject the claim made by the petitioner’s knowledgeable attorney that the proper procedure was not followed. The Director General Border Roads has final say in all matters.
It is not implied that the responsible authority did not take into account all pertinent factors and organisational interest only because it is claimed that the suggestion for the posting was not routed through the ADG (HQs). It is also undisputed that the ADG (HQs) recommendations are not binding on the DGBR, the final decision authority, as the DGBR is a superior authority to the ADG (HQs). It is also undisputed that the DGBR has the authority to reject the ADG’s recommendations.
We believe that the decision made by the competent authority, the DGBR, does not require interference even if there was a procedural error in not passing the file through the ADG (HQs), given that the DGBR has already considered the recommendation and representation and taken a decision in the organization’s best interest. The respondent’s argument that the file should not be sent to ADG (HQs) and that correct procedure has already been followed is, of course, unaffected by this.
we find that no malafide can be attributed to the respondent and impugned posting order does not warrant any interference by this Court.
Merely because there is an instance of an officer whose posting orders have been repeatedly changed citing organizational interest would not imply that in the case of the petitioner, organizational interest has not been kept in mind.
we find that there is no infirmity in the posting order or that the same warrants interference in exercise of power under Article 226 of Constitution of India. We find no merit in the petition.
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Written By Shreyanshu Gupta