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HC streamlines judicial transfers

Jorhat, Jan. 15: Gauhati High Court has divided Assam into 10 zones under a new policy for transfer of judicial officers working in the state.

Under the policy, the tenure of a judicial officer will be of three years in a zone under normal circumstances.

The transfer from one zone to another will be on a rotational basis. Hence, all the officers will have to serve in all the zones during the tenure of their service period.

A notification issued by Gauhati High Court registrar (vigilance) Robin Phukan recently said the court had framed the transfer policy to “streamline the procedure and maintain uniformity in transfer and posting of judicial officers”.

Though the normal tenure of a judicial officer in a zone shall be of three years from the date of joining at a station, an officer may urge the high court for extension of his/her tenure after completion of three years or seek transfer before completion of the tenure. The court shall examine the application and decide on its merit, the policy states.

If an officer is promoted within the normal tenure (three years) to the next grade, efforts shall be made to keep him in the same zone. Ordinarily, an officer will not be transferred within a zone till he has served in all other zones.

The notification says an officer, on completion of 12 years of service irrespective of grade, may ask for a posting of his choice in any district. This shall be considered on overall length of service subject to vacancy, and taking into account the officer’s period of service left till retirement. Such choice postings may be availed of only once in the entire service period.

The policy states that no officer shall be posted, within a period of 10 years from the date of his appointment, in a station that falls in his/her home district or where the officer had worked as an advocate on a regular basis.

If both husband and wife are judicial officers, efforts shall be made to post them in the same station, and if this is not possible, in the same district. If that, too, is not possible, then in the same zone, the notification says.

However, this provision comes with a condition — that one of the officer couple should not be the reporting or reviewing authority of the annual confidential report of the other.

The policy makes an exception for postings in places like Chapakhowa, Jonai, Dhakuakhana, Majuli, Dhansiri, Chirang, Baksa, Diphu, Haflong and Gossaigaon. The tenure in these stations shall be of one year with the remaining two years in places probably within the same zone under which the said stations fall.

In November every year, an assessment shall be made for transfer and posting and, preferably order of the same shall be made in December to enable children of officers not to face difficulty because of transfers in the middle of an academic session.