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Himachal Pradesh High Court stays transfer of horticulture development officer

The Petitioner Vaneet Kumar Pal was appointed as Horticulture Development Officer on a contract basis vide order dated 19.07.2019. He was accordingly posted as such in Palampur, District Kangra.

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Monday stayed the transfer of a Horticulture Development Officer till his representation has not been decided by authorities concerned.

The petitioner, Vaneet Kumar Pal, was appointed Horticulture Development Officer on contract basis vide order dated 19.07.2019. He was accordingly posted as such in Palampur, District Kangra. At the time of his contractual appointment, an agreement was executed between the parties on 22.07.2019, inter alia, containing the following clause:-

“6. An official appointed on contract basis who has completed three years tenure at once place of posting will be eligible for transfer on need based basis wherever required on administrative grounds.”

The grievance of the petitioner is against notification dated 29.04.2021, whereby the petitioner has been transferred from Palampur, District Kangra to Development Block Dharampur, District Mandi, against a vacant post.

Tarun K. Sharma, counsel for the petitioner, contended that in view of Clause 6 of the agreement, the petitioner, a contract appointee, could not have been transferred before completion of three years of tenure at his present place of posting. He further submitted that no one has been posted in place of the petitioner.

The counsel has also placed reliance upon clause of office memorandum dated 10th July, 2013 in respect of Comprehensive Guiding Principles-2013 for regulating the transfer of State Government employees:-

“7. Postings/transfers of Contract Employees: The employees appointed on contract basis shall be eligible for transfer after completion of three years of service, at par with the regular employees on administrative grounds, wherever required. The transfer/posting of such contractual employees will be made on need based basis.”

A single-judge bench of Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua after hearing the submission said that since the submissions are all factual and made with the aid of the documents appended along with the petition, therefore, the interest of justice will suffice by permitting the petitioner to file a representation to the respondents (concerned authorities) against his transfer ordered on 29.04.2021, within a period of two weeks. The same shall be considered and decided by the competent authority/respondents in accordance with law within a period of two weeks, the Court directed.

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“Till such time, operation of the impugned notification dated 29.04.2021 shall remain stayed qua the petitioner. It goes without saying that because of Corona curfew imposed in the State, petitioner in addition to physically handing over his representation in the office of respondents, is also permitted to send the same through e-mail and through registered A.D.,” the Court said.

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