The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) has recently reversed the transfer of the deputy superintendent of police (DySP) to the State Intelligence Department (SID) after concluding that as per the Maharashtra Police Act, the Police Establishment Board – 2 (PEB -2) under the director general of police was not the competent authority to transfer him.
The officer, Nitin Bhoyar, was previously a police inspector before being promoted as DySP and transferred to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Pune in July 2019.
While the Act mandates a fixed two-year tenure for officers of that rank, Bhoyar was abruptly transferred to the SID in January this year. The PEB -2 had cited Section 22 (n) (2) of the Act, which authorises the competent authority to effect a mid-term transfer of a police officer “in exceptional cases, in public interest and on account of administrative exigencies”. In Bhoyar’s case, the PEB-2 had cited allegations of misconduct while investigating a complaint as the reason behind shifting him out of the ACB.
However, through his lawyer Arvind V Bandiwadekar, Bhoyar argued that the PEB – 2 was not empowered to transfer officers of DySP rank, as that is the purview of the PEB – 1, with the home minister being the competent authority. The Maharashtra Police, which was named as a respondent, had contested Bhoyar’s claims and argued that since his promotion and transfer to a specialised agency like the ACB was to be considered “fortuitous”, when it came to transfers, his basic cadre was to be considered that of police inspector.
However, MAT member A P Kurhekar disagreed with the police’s submission. “…There cannot be two separate criteria unless law provides so. As the applicant was discharging all duties and functions of the post of deputy superintendent of police, Anti Corruption Bureau, there is no logic to treat him as police inspector for the purpose of transfer and PEB-2 cannot be said competent authority for the transfer of the applicant,” he observed.
The MAT also ruled that only the PEB – 1 was authorised to transfer Bhoyar and that too after a PEB constituted at the ACB recommended it. “In the present case, PEB – 2 approved the transfer of the applicant without any recommendation by PEB at the level of ACB. Therefore, on this count also the impugned transfer order is unsustainable in law. Needless to mention, when law requires particular procedure and mode for the transfer of police personnel, then the same deserves to be followed and in letter and spirit and departure from the express provisions of law is not permissible,” the order stated.
The MAT further observed that the transfer order was “in defiance of express provisions of Maharashtra Police Act” and that PEB – 2 had neither the “jurisdiction” nor the “competency” to transfer Bhoyar.
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