HC formulates policy for transfer of Judicial Officers, issues guidelines

Nishikant Khajuria

JAMMU, Feb 9: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has formulated transfer policy for Judicial Officers in the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
As per the policy guidelines, issued today by the Registrar General, the general transfers of Judicial Officers in the Union Territories shall be effected ordinarily twice in a year in the months of March and September unless otherwise directed by the Chief Justice.
Maintaining that the suitability of officers in the interest of administration of justice and exposing them to different nature of work shall be the paramount criteria for transfer/posting of officers, the policy makes it clear that no officer shall be posted as far as practicable in his district/home town or in any district where his/her blood/close relative(s) such as parents, spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew, niece, brother-in-law and sister-in-law are practicing.
However, endeavour shall be made, as far as possible to post husband and wife (if both happen to be Judicial Officers) in the same district or adjoining districts and Judicial Officer suffering from a serious ailment or who is physically challenged may be given convenient posting.
Ordinarily, Judicial Officers are transferable once in two years i.e the term of posting would normally be of two years but if exigency arises, they may be transferred earlier or permitted to overstay at the discretion of the Chief Justice subject to ratification by the Full Court, say the transfer policy guidelines.
However, the term of posting of a Judicial Officer at a hard station/district shall be of one year only. Any officer who has remained posted or serving at the hard station/district would not be posted in any other such station/district until the expiry of 4 years i.e. for two normal tenures of postings from his/her last posting at any such hard station/district.
The hard stations are Bani, Mahore, Gandoh, Gool, Kotranka, Budhal, D H Pora, Uri, Tangdhar, Gurez, Leh, Nubra, Khaltsi, Kargil, Drass, Sanku and Zanskar. However, the stations categorized as hard stations in district Leh and Kargil shall not be considered as hard stations for Judicial Officers who are residents of UT of Ladakh.
Further, no Judicial Officer shall be posted in the same district twice as far as possible except as District Judge unless the Court otherwise directs in the exigency of service.
In order to effectuate transfers of officers, the Registrar General shall obtain in advance three choices of stations from Judicial Officers likely to be transferred and shall place the same before the Chief Justice/Committee to facilitate the transfers/postings.
No officer would ordinarily be appointed on deputation outside the Cadre except once while working as Civil Judge (Jr Division), Civil Judge (Sr Division) and District Judge and consecutive deputation would not be permissible except on the prerogative of the Chief Justice.
Notwithstanding these policy guidelines, an officer would generally be given a station of his choice as the last posting before his retirement. If an officer has one or less than a year to retire, as on the first day of April, he may not be disturbed from his existing place of posting, as far as possible.
In regard to matters that are not specifically provided in these guidelines, the Chief Justice may issue such general or particular clarifications as may be necessary for the effectuation of transfers and postings having regard to the general interest in the administration of justice.
The office of the Registrar General shall keep the database of transfers/postings of the Judicial Officers updated (including soft form), for effective implementation of the transfer policy and keep it available on the Court’s website.