Mumbai: No cop can be transferred mid-term sans a genuine case of public interest, rules MAT

In a significant ruling, the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) held that no police officer can be transferred to some other post, posting and even department, before their tenure ends. However, to sanction any mid-term transfers, the authorities must make out a "genuine" case of public interest and administrative exigencies, the tribunal held.

A bench of Justice Mridula Bhatkar said, "The word 'administrative exigencies’ or ‘public interest’ cannot be used routinely but considering the facts involved in the case the real reason to accommodate somebody on his or her request should not be camouflaged in the name of administrative exigencies or public interest."

"The authority can transfer the Police Personnel to any post or can be given any posting only after the tenure is over and can transfer mid-tenure or mid-term after making out a genuine case of public interest or administrative exigencies," Justice Bhatkar, the chairperson of MAT held.

The observations were made while dealing with a plea filed by a senior police inspector, who was transferred from Shil-Daighar police station, Thane to the district's special branch in November last year.

By his orders, Thane Police chief had also transferred a female officer from the special branch and had posted her at the Shil-Daighar police station.

Notably, both the officers were transferred before they could complete their tenure at present postings.

In his orders, the police chief had claimed that since the female officer was earlier holding the charge of another police station and was on field but subsequent to her transfer to the special branch she couldn't be on field. The city's top cop also claimed that he wanted to bring her back in the field for the reason that there are very few female Police Officers holding higher posts of Sr. P.I. are working in the field.

"Apparently this reason of transferring her to give exposure and opportunity to the female officer look laudable, however, it does not stand to the logic and reason so far as it is not genuine," Justice Bhatkar held.

Having noted that neither the female officer had requested for a transfer nor was she given some other posting, the tribunal further said, "The decision transferring the applicant police officer was taken necessarily to accommodate the female cop with a view to give her better exposure in the field. However, it cannot be done at the cost of causing injustice to the other person, it is not permissible in law," the tribunal held.

Accordingly, the MAT reversed the transfer orders.

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