The High Court Tuesday formulated the transfer policy of judicial officers of J&K, and Ladakh.
“In supersession of previous orders, the court lays down the transfer policy for transfer of judicial officers in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh,” an order of the High Court reads.
The transfer policy order states that the general transfers of the Judicial Officers in J&K and Ladakh would be affected ordinarily twice a year in the months of March and September unless otherwise directed by the Chief Justice.
“The suitability of officers in the interest of the administration of justice and exposing them to different nature of work shall be the paramount criteria for transfer and posting of the officers,” the transfer policy order states.
Similarly, the order says: “No officer will be posted as far as practicable in his district or home town or in any district where his or her blood or close relative such as parents, spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew, niece, brother-in-law and sister-in-law are practicing.”
However, it was emphasised that endeavour would 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 officers suffering from a serious ailment or who are physically challenged may be given convenient posting.
“Ordinarily, judicial officers are transferable once in two years. 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,” the order states. “The term of posting of a judicial officer at a hard station and district will be of one year only.”
The hard stations include Bani, Mahore, Gandoh, Gool, Kotranka, Budhal, D H Pora, Uri, Tangdhar, Gurez, Leh, Nubra, Khaltsi, Kargil, Drass, Sanku, and Zanskar.
However, the hard-stations in Leh and Kargil would not be considered as hard stations for judicial officers who are residents of Ladakh.
“Any officer who has remained posted or is serving at the hard station or district will not be posted in any other such station or district until the expiry of 4 years – for two normal tenures of postings from his or her last posting at any such hard station or district,” the order reads.
It states: “No judicial officer will 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 would obtain in advance three choices of stations from judicial officers likely to be transferred and place it before the Chief Justice and committee to facilitate the transfers and postings.
The order states, “No officer will ordinarily be appointed on deputation outside the cadre except once while working as Civil Judge (Junior Division), Civil Judge (Senior Division) and District Judge and consecutive deputation will not be permissible except on the prerogative of the Chief Justice.”
Interestingly, an officer would generally be given 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 might not be disturbed from his existing place of posting, as far as possible.
The order states that 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 would keep the database of transfers and postings of the Judicial Officers updated for effective implementation of the transfer policy and keep it available on the court’s website.