AIS officers transfers: Telangana HC puts ball back in DoPT court

HC asks the department to issue appropriate orders based on guidelines framed by Pratyush Sinha Committee
Telangana High Court. (File photo)
Telangana High Court. (File photo)

HYDERABAD: A division bench of Telangana High Court on Wednesday disposed of 13 writ petitions filed by the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), Government of India, seeking suspension of orders passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Hyderabad branch, on the allocation of 13 All India Services (AIS) officers to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The CAT had previously issued orders on March 29, 2016, allocating 13 AIS officers — including IPS officers Anjani Kumar, Abhilasha Bhisht and Abhishek Mohanty, IAS officers D Donald Rose and Amrapali Katta — to Telangana/Andhra Pradesh. This allocation was contested by the DoPT, leading to the CAT proceedings.

The bench, comprising Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili and Justice N Rajeshwar Rao, in its verdict, directed all 13 AIS officers, whose allocation is under challenge, to submit detailed representations and to ventilate their grievances to the DoPT.

The court emphasised that the DoPT would examine each individual case following the observations made by the tribunal and issue appropriate orders based on the guidelines framed by the Pratyush Sinha Committee.

The court acknowledged that previous cases challenging the guidelines for AIS officers’ allocation were adjudicated based on the tribunal’s consideration of the guidelines as invalid.However, it highlighted a shift in 2017 when the division bench, led by the then Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Surepalli Nanda, upheld the validity of the guidelines in a plea filed by the DoPT challenging the allocation of IAS officer Somesh Kumar to Telangana.

The high court found fault with the CAT, Hyderabad, for not remanding the matter back to the DoPT for re-examination and observed that the tribunal should have considered the individual cases in light of its observations.

In disposing of the writ petitions, the high court directed the AIS officers to submit detailed representations, including legal issues and instructed the DoPT to consider these representations and pass orders strictly in accordance with the law.

The court emphasised that the officers were entitled to a personal hearing, taking into account their years of service and the duration they have been stationed in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.All 13 writ petitions filed by the DoPT were disposed of, signalling a new phase in the allocation process for AIS officers in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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