The Bombay High Court has directed the state government not to allow political patronage in the transfer of government servants.
A division bench of judges Naresh Patil and Ravindra V Ghughe, hearing a petition by a doctor, said on Thursday: "The state shall make every endeavour to discourage government servants, more particularly persons with such high qualification and holding important posts, from exerting political pressure or seeking political patronage in routine matters of transfer."
The petitioner, Dr Sudhir Medhekar, was posted to Grant Medical College, Mumbai, in June 2012, but he could not join service in the new post as Dr MM Kura, who was supposed to move out of Grant Medical allegedly got his transfer order cancelled. (Grant Medical is attached to the JJ Group of Hospitals.)
Medhekar, who was associate professor at Bhausaheb Hire Government College in Dhule, had been promoted as professor and posted to Grant Medical in place of Kura, who was to go to Dhule.
In December 2012, Medhekar was ordered to shift to a hospital in Aurangabad and Kura was allowed to stay on at Grant Medical. Medhekar challenged this before the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal.
However, his plea was rejected by the panel and he approached the court. Medhekar argued that Kura used political pressure to get his transfer order cancelled.
He also stated that the doctor had occupied the post at Grant Medical for 17 years which was contrary to the law on the tenure and transfer of government employees.
But Kura, in his response, said that he did not move to Dhule as he was not relieved by the government.
The government on its part defended its action to cancel Kura's transfer, saying he was engaged in a project and on his representation the transfer was stalled.
In its order, the court expressed displeasure over the way the government had handled the situation and it partly allowed the petition.
After going through the records of the case, the judges stated: "Professionals, like doctors involved in this case, are expected to join at their place of transfer instead of involving ministers or members of the legislative assembly to interject with their transfer orders."
The bench directed Medhekar to take up the post offered in Aurangabad, and ordered Kura to join service in Dhule.