L. S. Jamir, J. -
(1.) Both the writ petitions are being disposed of by this common judgment and order.
Heard Mr. P. K. Roychoudhury, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner as well as Mr. B. N. Goswami, learned Advocate General Assam for the respondent Nos. 1 to 5.
None appears for the respondent No. 6 despite filing affidavit-in-opposition.
(2.) The petitioner is presently serving as Extra Writer in the Office of the Senior Sub-Registrar, Kamrup (M), Guwahati. A show cause notice dated 22.07.2016 was issued to the petitioner by the respondent No. 3 with a direction to submit the written reply on his source of income, property details in his name etc. Thereafter, the Inspector General of Registration, Assam/respondent No. 2 issued an order dated 22.07.2016 placing the petitioner under suspension with immediate effect. Another show cause notice dated 19.08.2016 was served on the petitioner under rule 9 of the Assam Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1964 read with Article 311 of the Constitution as to why penalties under Rule 7 of the Rules of 1964 should not be inflicted on the petitioner on the following charges :
"On perusal of the report submitted by the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro) it appears that you and Sri Bipul Ch. Das, S/o Late Phatik Ch. Das have jointly purchased a plot of land measuring 3 Kathas in equal share, i.e., 1 Katha 10 Lesa each through Registered Sale Deed No. 3690 dated 25-04- 2016 and 3695 dated 25-04-2016 covered by Dag No. 117, 129 (Old) 485, 486 (New) and Pata No. 1 (Old) 1 (New) under Revenue Village Sahar Kharguli, Mouza Ullubari at a cost of Rs. 50,00,000/- (Rupees Fifty Lakhs) each and Stamp Duty amounting Rs. 2,50,000/- (Rupees Two Lakhs fifty thousand) only each. You are to submit (i) Your source of income, (ii) Property details in your name, (iii) Salary statement since inception of service and Form-16 for last 3 (Three) years and (iv) Photo copy of Bank Pass Book where salary is deposited."
The petitioner responded to the show cause dated 19.08.2016 and thereafter, the respondent No. 2 by an order dated 08.12.2016 reinstated the petitioner back into service by dropping the departmental proceeding inasmuch as it appeared to him that it would not serve any meaningful purpose to continue with the departmental proceeding. By the same order dated 08.12.2016, the petitioner was transferred to the Office of the Senior Sub-Registrar, Nagaon with immediate effect. In the same order, the respondent No. 2 also decided to request the Government in the Administrative Department to entrust the matter to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau for investigation and necessary action. The order dated 08.12.2016 is challenged in the present writ petition insofar as the transfer of the petitioner to the Office of the Senior Sub-Registrar, Nagaon is concerned on the ground that his transfer is punitive and passed with malafide considerations.
(3.) Mr. P. K. Roychoudhury, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner had earlier purchased a plot of land measuring 1 Katha 10 Lesa at the cost of Rs. 50,00,000/- (Fifty Lakhs) through the Registered Sale Deed No. 5032 and Deed No. 3690 dated 25.04.2016 which was covered by Dag No. 117, 129 (Old) / 458, 486 (New) of Patta No. 1 (Old) / 1 (New) under Revenue Village Sahar Kharguli, Mouza-Ulubari in District of Kamrup (Metro), Assam by taking a loan under the Union Home Scheme from the Union Bank of India, Hathigaon Branch, Guwahati. The said purchase of the plot of land came to the knowledge of the respondents, more particularly, the respondent No. 3 by way of a complaint and it was for this purpose that the show cause notice was issued upon the petitioner in contemplation of a departmental proceeding. He also submits that the said purchase of land had come to the notice of his superior Officers thereby he had fallen from grace from such authorities and which led to the issuance of the order dated 08.12.2016 transferring him to the Office of the Senior Sub-Registrar, Nagaon. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that in the order dated 08.12.2016 the respondent No. 2 had clearly come to the conclusion that the nature of allegations are not directly related to the scope of departmental proceeding which was being held at that relevant point of time and infact he had taken a decision to request the Government in the Administrative Department to entrust the matter to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. Further, by the same order the departmental proceeding drawn against the petitioner was dropped and the petitioner was reinstated back into service, however, by transferring him out to the Office of the Senior Sub-Registrar, Nagaon without any cogent reasons and tainted by malafide intentions. He submits that the issuance of the petitioner's transfer was on the initiative taken by the respondent Nos. 3/6 who had send the notice to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, CM's Special Vigilance Cell, Assam for inquiry upon the purchase of the said plot of land.
The transfer of the petitioner is not initiated in public service but the same has been done with malafide reasons inasmuch as the petitioner had fallen from grace merely because as an Extra Writer, he was able to purchase a plot of land for a consideration of Rs. 50,00,000/- (Fifty Lakhs), which infact was a loan taken from the Bank. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has also drawn the attention of this Court to the affidavit-in-opposition filed by the respondent No. 6, more particularly, at paragraph 18 and submits that the statements in the said paragraph clearly indicate the personal enmity of the respondent No. 6 against the petitioner inasmuch as, it is clearly stated that the petitioner's activities are not found to be satisfactory and the transfer of the petitioner has become essential. The transfer of the petitioner was issued by the respondent No. 2, however, a reading of the affidavit filed by the respondent No. 6 would clearly indicate the fact that the respondent No. 2 was influenced by the respondent No. 6 to transfer out the petitioner to the Office of the Senior Sub-Registrar, Nagaon on personal motives and to harass the petitioner.
He also submits that after the issuance of the impugned order dated 08.12.2016 wherein the respondent No. 2 had taken a decision to refer the matter to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, the petitioner had received a W.T. Message dated 06.03.2017 through the Officer in-charge Latasil Police Station directing him to appear before the Inquiry Officer and therefore the petitioner had approached this Court by way of Anticipatory Bail No. 505/2017 praying for pre arrest bail. This Court by order dated 17.03.2017 had issued an interim order protecting the petitioner from being arrested and on the next returnable date i.e., 26.07.2017, on the submission of the learned Addl. Public Prosecutor Assam that no criminal case has been registered till that date against the petitioner, the said Anticipatory Bail No. 505/2017 was closed. He, therefore, submits that the sequence of events would clearly indicate that the transfer of the petitioner affected by the order dated 08.12.2016 was purely malafide in nature without any public interest and therefore, the same should be set aside.;