EPFO employee’s transfer to Indore suspended by Bombay HC

The high court nullified and invalidated the transfer, citing the fact that an employee who is under suspension cannot be transferred

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The Bombay High Court’s division bench recently cancelled the suspension of a class-3 central government worker (who filed the petition) who had been transferred to another location. The petitioner is currently under investigation in Mumbai for disciplinary departmental proceedings.

The whole thing started when the a lower division clerk at the Regional Office (EPF) in Bandra East, was later promoted to section supervisor (ad hoc) in April 2011. She was entrusted with an additional charge of section supervisor of account group 154 in the absence of the regular section supervisor. During this time, a colleague allegedly committed fraud using the petitioner’s login credentials without her knowledge. The petitioner was later suspended and subjected to a departmental inquiry. She was also transferred to Regional Office, Indore, a move which she later contested.

As per Panchal, the CAT dismissed the petitioner’s plea against the transfer order, but did not provide proper reasoning for the decision. The petitioner then approached the Bombay High Court. The high court, headed by Acting Chief Justice S V Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne, observed that it is acknowledged by all parties that the petitioner is under suspension and was transferred while still suspended. The court also noted that there is no provision allowing the transfer of an employee who is under suspension. Consequently, the high court invalidated and cancelled the transfer order.

The employee in question works for the Employees’ Provident Fund Office (EPFO) and was unexpectedly relocated to the Indore regional office. The transfer order was contested in the high court after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) supported it. The high court nullified and invalidated the transfer, citing the fact that an employee who is under suspension cannot be transferred.

The petitioner expressed satisfaction with the decision of the high court, but asked to remain anonymous due to being a government employee and therefore prohibited from speaking to the media. Additionally, since the petitioner is currently under suspension and pending inquiry, she did not want to violate any disciplinary regulations.

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