In a significant ruling, the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) recently held that a public servant accused of certain allegations cannot be transferred without ascertaining the truthfulness of the complaints. The MAT in its ruling quashed the transfer orders of the Medical Superintendent of a civil hospital in Pune, who was accused of being careless towards patients and shutting the hospital on the eve of Ram Navami.
A single bench of MAT chairperson Justice Mridula Bhatkar was seized with a plea filed by Dr Dattatraya Bhamane challenging the orders passed by the Civil Services Board (CSB) transferring him to another hospital.
According to Bhamane, the CSB didn't follow the due procedure of law while transferring him. He argued that the board was wrong in transferring him especially when he was due to retire after eight months.
The board through additional chief secretary, public health department claimed to have followed all the procedures. It also relied upon the complaints received by the public and especially the one by MLA Sangram Thopte, who wrote a letter to state health minister Rajesh Tope.
In his letter to Tope, the MLA had stated the residents of Bhor town in Pune, had protested Dr Bhamane's appointment as the medical superintendent of their town. He also highlighted the fact that Dr Bhamane had shut the hospital on the day of Ram Navami and during the period of pandemic.
"Dr Bhamane tortures his staff mentally and physically. He does not give respectful treatment to the representatives of the people, and therefore, he is to be transferred immediately," Thopte had stated in his letter.
Having perused the letter and other material on record, Justice Bhatkar noted that there was nothing on record to show that all the complaints apart from that of MLA Thopte were placed before the CSB.
"It appears that there is no verification of the complaints received from the people against Dr Bhamane by the higher authority. The letter addressed by MLA Thopte and the other complaints in fact should have been forwarded to the higher authority of Dr Bhamane, who should have verified and investigated into the issue," Justice Bhatkar said.
"If there would have been a report or remarks of the higher authority regarding the default or misbehaviour of Dr Bhamane, while working as Medical Superintendent, then that could have been a good ground," the judge noted.
Justice Bhatkar further held that the genuine complaints of the public should not go unattended and proper relief should be given to them.