JOGENDRA MOHANTY Vs. STATE OF ORISSA AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
State of Orissa and Ors.
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R.N.Misra, J. -
(1.) PETITIONER is a Senior Inspector of Co -operative Societies. His services were placed at the disposal of the Community Development and Social Welfare Department and he was posted as Co -operative Extension Officer in the Cuttack Sadar Block with effect from 1 -11 -1977 under the overall control of the Collector of Cuttack. On 23 -2 -1978, the Collector passed an order for transfer of the Petitioner from his posting in the Sadar Block and the District Development Officer on 27 -2 -1978 passed a consequential direction that the Petitioner be shifted to Korei Block as Co -operative Extension Officer and the Co -operative Extension Officer of Korei be posted in the vacancy caused by the Petitioner's transfer. Petitioner thereupon made a representation on the basis of which on 17th of March, 1978, the Collector directed that the transfer may be deferred until the first week of May, 1978, but before it was implemented, on 20th of March, 1978, the order of transfer became operative and Petitioner handed over charge. On 5 -4 -1978, Petitioner filed the present writ application challenging his transfer by pleading that the order of transfer had been brought about by heavy pressure put by the local Member of the Legislative Assembly on the Collector and a group of influential people had utilised the services of the local M. L. A. for bringing about the transfer of the Petitioner as they were affected adversely when Petitioner acted in due discharge of his duties. Petitioner further pleaded that the Assistant Registrar of Co -operative Societies, Cuttack, who had no administrative control over the Petitioner made false reports against him to the Collector and a bias was created against the Petitioner without any foundation. On such motivated move and completely false allegations, the transfer was effected and particularly because it was brought about by pressure put by outside agencies and the Collector did not exercise his own discretion in the matter in the interest of public administration, the order of transfer has become vulnerable and is liable to be quashed.
(2.) THE Collector in a personal affidavit has denied the allegations and has maintained that the order of transfer was made in consideration of the administrative exigencies and was absolutely a bona fide act not liable to be questioned in a judicial proceeding. Learned Additional Government Advocate produced the administrative file relating to transfer of Co -operative Extension Officers wherein the impugned transfer has been dealt with. From the note -sheets in the file, it appears that on 11th of January, 1978, there is a note to the following effect:
A. D. M. told me over phone today that Collector wants the C. E. O. Sadar Block should be transferred from there....
In the meantime, the Assistant Registrar of Co -operative Societies of Cuttack Sadar, reported certain allegations against the Petitioner and the District Development Officer in his note dated 1 -2 -1973 very guardedly indicated that the Petitioner had been recently posted and there appeared to be an anxiety of every Assistant Registrar of Co -operative societies to have his own man posted within his jurisdiction. The Additional District Magistrate indicated that the role of the Assistant Registrar of Co -operative Societies is to ensure proper and smooth management of the cooperative institutions and collection of Co -operative dues. While frequent disturbances from one station an other without public interest of the co -operative Extension Officers would not be in the interest of administration, in the instant case, according to the Additional District Magistrate, the proposed transfer of the Petitioner seemed to be In the greater interest of co -operative institutions. On the basis of the said recommendation of the Additional District Magistrate, the Collector passed the following order:
The Sadar C. E. O. may be transferred in the first instance as the M. L. A. Sadar has also repeatedly complained against him.
As regards the other two we may obtain the views of D. R. Cs. who may also suggest substitutes as he might be having up -to -date collection performance report on all C. B. Os.
From the various notings and the ultimate order of the Collector, it is clear that independent of the local M. L. A., there was already a proposal for transferring the Petitioner from the Cuttack Sadar Block. The Collector in his order of 23rd of February, 1978, appears to have taken note of the fact that there were complaints from other sources and added to them, repeated complaints from the local M. L. A. had also come. The proposal to transfer the Petitioner from his then posting had been mooted more than a month before the order of transfer. From the records produced, we are not in a position to hold that the local M. L. A. had brought pressure to bear upon the Collector and the Collector without exercising his own discretion was entirely guided by the local M. L. A. in directing transfer of the Petitioner. In his return to this Court, the Collector has specifically indicated the circumstances in which he came to form his own opinion that Petitioner's transfer was warranted in the public interest.
(3.) A Co -operative Extension Officer in discharge of his duties is bound to have public contacts and the success of the co -operative movement and appropriate functioning of the Societies would considerably depend upon the performance of the Co -operative Extension Officer. It is, therefore, necessary that such an officer should discharge his functions in a manner congenial to the co -operative movement and keeping in tune with the professed policy of the executive Government. There may be a case where the officer may be honest and dutiful; yet being not capable of managing his job with candor and amity, would soon bring about disrepute and give rise to a grievance against him and in due course, the administration. The administrative superior is bound to take note of these aspects and with a view to avoiding public agitation, require his shifting. There is no force in the contention of Petitioner's counsel that by 11th of January, 1978, there was no complaint against the Petitioner and the Collector had no basis for suggesting to the Additional District Magistrate the transfer of the Petitioner. When the Collector formed his own opinion and instructed the Additional District Magistrate in the manner indicated above, it was not necessary for the Collector to indicate the reasons to the Additional District Magistrate or to make a note of it in the relevant file. If we accept counsel's contention and look for reasons in matters of this type, the executive authority would not be able to function.;
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