Saturday, December 2, 2023

CAT directs West Bengal govt to consider IPS officer’s request for change of cadre on grounds of marriage

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The Central Administrative Tribunal has recently directed the Government of West Bengal (2nd respondent) to consider the request of the IPS applicant for issuance of “no objection” certificate for change of his cadre from the State of West Bengal to the State of Haryana citing grounds of marriage.

The bench of chairman Manjula Das and Mohd. Jamshed, observed, “The allocation of officers of the All India Service (AIS) takes place at the threshold of their career. Since most of the candidates are selected and appointed when they are relatively young, they may get married after entering into service. In case, both the spouses remain at the same or proximate places, it would be easier for them to manage their careers and households simultaneously.”

“However, if the spouse of such officer hails from a different cadre, its impact would naturally be felt on the quality of service rendered by such officers. Obviously, for that reason, the Government of India framed a policy in 2009 providing for change of cadre of officers of AIS, in case he or she is married to an officer of AIS, belonging to a different cadre,” the bench noted.

The applicant contended that the Government of India has framed the rules and issued guidelines providing for transfer of AIS officers from one cadre to another, in case they are married to AIS officers from other cadres. He contended that there was absolutely no basis for the 2nd respondent for not taking a decision on his request for cadre transfer. He pleaded that the shortage of officers is not a ground in view of the judgments of the Supreme Court.

Madhumati Bhattacharjee, counsel for West Bengal government, submitted that there is acute shortage of IPS officers in the state.

To which the bench remarked, “Even if it is true, the Supreme Court held that the shortage of officers does not constitute a ground to deny the request of an officer.”

The applicant here is an IPS officer of 2017 batch and was allotted the West Bengal cadre. He was married to one Nikita Khattar, an IPS officer of 2018 batch of Haryana cadre. The home cadre of both the applicant and his wife is Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram & Union Territory. On July 12, 2019, the applicant made an application, requesting to change his cadre from the State of West Bengal to that of the State of Haryana on grounds of marriage. It is stated that vide letter dated August 20, 2019, the State of Haryana gave its “no objection‟ to the proposal. However, the State of West Bengal has not taken any decision in this regard. The applicant made detailed representation dated December 13, 2019 to the State of West Bengal to consider his case for cadre transfer on compassionate grounds as after the death of his father, there was no one to take care of his ailing mother since no decision was taken by the respondent No 2 (Govt. of West Bengal).

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