Transfer of Civil Servants<sup>1</sup>

A.G. Noorani


Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195678291
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080588 | DOI:
Transfer of Civil Servants1

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This chapter focuses on arbitrary transfer and posting of civil servants by ministers, a long persisting malaise in public administration. It examines a typical case of worker in a health centre who was transferred from Gopiganj to Bhadohi on 24 June 1996. A few days after she reported for duty, her transfer was cancelled at the instance of an MP Phoolan Devi. In his judgment on this case, delivered on 14 May 1997, Justice M. Katju of the Allahabad High Court held the order wholly arbitrary. He cited past instances and strongly criticized the 'blatant and persistent abuse' of this power. He directed the State Government to form a high powered committee to formulate objective critic and guidelines for transfers and postings of government servants at all levels. Given the situation we face today, there is a dire need of some objective criteria. The legitimate grounds of transfer have been defined by the Supreme Court: mala fides, violation of a statutory rule, and 'infraction of any professed norm or principle governing the transfer'. A transfer to be valid must be made in public interest and for administrative reasons.

Keywords: transfer; posting; civil servants; ministers; public administration; Phoolan Devi; Allahabad High Court; guidelines; public interest; administrative reasons

Chapter.  1782 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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