Transfer drama of ACP Rajendrakumar Trivedi: Mumbai Police submit 'evidence' to Bombay High Court
Challenging ACP's contention that the police commissioner has no transfer powers, police secure relief by providing judges with a sealed envelope apparently containing incriminating info on him
A sealed envelope has saved the day for Mumbai police, locked in a contentious battle with Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rajendrakumar Trivedi, over his transfer orders by the police chief last year. The envelope, apparently containing confidential material pertaining to Trivedi, was presented in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, swinging the battle in favour of the police.
After perusal of the confidential report, the court granted interim relief to the Mumbai Police, against the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) order that had quashed Police Commissioner Subodh Kumar Jaiswal's order to transfer Trivedi.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rajendrakumar Trivedi
On January 1, 2017, Trivedi was posted as ACP, Sion. In August, however, he was transferred to the Local Arms Unit (LA). Irked with transfer orders, Trivedi moved the MAT on two counts - the Mumbai Police commissioner has no powers to transfer an officer of Trivedi's rank and that he could not be transferred without completing the two years' tenure. The MAT subsequently quashed the transfer orders and instructed the police administration to reinstate Trivedi as ACP, Sion.
MAT judicial member A P Kurhekar, while quashing the transfer orders, had observed that the contention raised by police department "is misconceived and not acceptable", adding, "Respondent No 3 [commissioner], who is not authorised in law to do so, has issued transfer order" and "the competent authority to transfer an ACP is the Home Minister."
However, the city police administration decided to appeal against the tribunal order, and a petition was filed in the Bombay High Court. During the hearing, senior counsel for the Mumbai Police, Anil Sakhare, claimed that according to provisions in the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, under exceptional circumstances and on account of public interest and administrative exigencies, a competent authority is empowered to effect a mid-term transfer.
Sakhare said, "The police had some material against the ACP which called for an immediate transfer. The transfer was even approved by the Police Establishment Board (PEB) and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis [who also holds the home department portfolio]. The original file for the same was placed before the HC."
Trivedi's counsel Makarand Lonkar said that action should not be taken on account of certain adverse material. "The tribunal had held that this should not be done without following the principles of natural justice," he said.
'Will appeal against HC order'
According to the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, the normal tenure of an officer of ACP rank or deputy superintendent of police is two years at each posting, and a competent authority to issue transfer orders for IPS-rank officers is the home minister. Early transfer is allowed if disciplinary proceedings are instituted or contemplated against the personnel if he/she is convicted by a court of law, if there are allegations of corruption against the officer, or if the personnel is guilty of dereliction of duty.
"The MAT order clearly states that rules were not followed while issuing transfer orders. I will appeal against the HC order in the Supreme Court," Trivedi said. Advocate Rajkumarlaxman Rajhuns claimed that "the transfer order was issued first and permission from appropriate authority was taken later." Had there been such urgency, "the department could have asked the officer not to report to work for a certain period, instead of taking post facto approval for transfer," he said.
However, when contacted Mumbai Police PRO DCP Manjunath Shinge said, "The decision to transfer Trivedi was taken by adhering to set procedures and rules and it was necessitated by administrative exigencies. The honorable High Court too has endorsed the view of the Establishment Board."
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