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Monday, September 28, 2020

‘Established procedure not followed’: MAT reverses mid-term transfer of bureaucrat

The government argued that it had decided to transfer Piraji Sormare to Nandurbar as it was less affected by the virus and to protect him from the risk of being contaminated.

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Updated: September 17, 2020 10:18:20 am
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The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) has reversed mid-term transfer of a bureaucrat noting that the state government did not follow established procedure while doing so.

Piraji Sormare, the Additional Collector of Ahmednagar district, was transferred as additional collector of Sardar Sarovar Project in Nandurbar district in April. Due to retire in 2021, Sormare (58), had only spent a year and one month at Ahmednagar before being shifted. Sormare had moved the MAT and argued that this transfer was in violation of the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act. He also alleged that the state government had transferred him only to accommodate his replacement, Dattatray Borude, at his native Ahmednagar.

In his petition, Sormare also contended that his transfer violated provisions of the Disaster Management Act. Under that Act, he was appointed joint president of the district-level monitoring committee as part of the state government’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Through his advocate Avinash S Deshmukh, Sormare argued that his transfer was illegal since provisions of the Disaster Management Act override all local legislation.

The state government’s Chief Presenting Officer M S Mahajan submitted that Sormare was transferred “in view of the seriousness of the pandemic and to take preventive steps for preventing the spread of Covid-19”. The government argued that it had decided to transfer Sormare to Nandurbar as it was less affected by the virus and to protect him from the risk of being contaminated. The government chose to post Borude at Ahmednagar as he is “younger” than and senior to Sormare.

In his order, MAT vice-chairman B P Patil noted neither officer had completed his term at his posting and the state government’s Civil Services Board had neither recorded exceptional circumstances nor written special reasons for transferring them, thereby violating the transfer Act.

Patil also found that not only was Borude elevated to the cadre of Additional Collector several years after Sormare but that he also had significantly lesser administrative experience. “The said orders are issued only to accommodate the respondent no 4 (Borude) in the place of the applicant (Sormare) at Ahmednagar,” Patil observed.

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