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Rs 8-lakh award for mala fide transfer

Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the Central government to pay Rs 800,000 to an employee of the Indian Jute Industry Research Association (IJIRA) as compensation for a ‘mala fide’ transfer.

Justice Barin Ghosh observed that the Central organisation had misused public money to malign one of its employees, which was illegal and arbitrary.

He added that the Central government would have to pay a compensation of Rs 8 lakh to the petitioner for his harassment over the past four years.

The prosecution case stated that R.N. Mukherjee, a research fellow with IJIRA and a resident of Alipore, had been transferred to Guwahati in March 1999.

Mukherjee moved a writ petition before the high court, challenging the decision and seeking an interim order restraining his employer from giving effect to the transfer order. The petitioner also alleged that the transfer decision of the authority sought “only to malign” him.

Justice Ghosh admitted his petition but asked Mukherjee to join the Guwahati office. “The transfer of the petitioner will be subject to the disposal of the case,” the court had observed.

Counsel on behalf of the petitioner informed the court that his client had joined work in Guwahati but there was no work there, as there was “no infrastructure” in place.

The counsel also argued that as per a Supreme Court ruling, employers must ensure that the infrastructural facilities are in place before posting an employee to any spot. “If this was not maintained, the transfer would be treated as mala fide,” he said.

On Thursday, Justice Ghosh observed that the senior administrative officer of IJIRA, S.K. Ganguly, “had an ill motive” in issuing the letter of transfer to the petitioner and that the letter was mala fide, as there was no infrastructural facility for the petitioner to work. “The officer has misused public funds to malign one of his employees,” the court said, adding the Centre must compensate the petitioner.

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