Union of India vs. Assistant Commissioner of Customs: Transfer Order Appeal

In the case of Union of India vs. Assistant Commissioner of Customs, the Supreme Court has intervened in an appeal regarding a transfer order issued to the respondent. The High Court had previously granted an injunction against the transfer, citing reasons such as the location of headquarters and spouse’s medical condition. However, the Supreme Court found this interference unjustified and in breach of legal principles. The respondent, an Assistant Commissioner of Customs, had contested the transfer to Bhubaneshwar and obtained an ad interim stay. Stay tuned for more updates on this legal battle.


  • The respondent, an Assistant Commissioner of Customs, GST and Central Excise, was transferred from Mumbai to Bhubaneshwar on 5 September 2019.
  • The respondent contested the transfer order and obtained an ad interim stay from the CAT on 17 September 2019.
  • Despite the interim order, the respondent did not join at the place of posting and was eventually suspended.
  • The CAT dismissed the OA filed by the respondent challenging the transfer order on 5 November 2019.
  • High Court admitted the Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.
  • An interim order was granted on 11 November 2019 and continued in the impugned judgment dated 2 December 2019.
  • Union of India is in appeal against the High Court’s decision.
  • Ad interim direction granted on 11 November 2019 was continued at the production stage.

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  • Mr Manan Kumar Mishra, a Senior Counsel, argued that during a previous hearing, the Union government had indicated willingness to post the respondent at three different locations instead of Bhubaneswar.
  • The request was for the order of transfer to be modified based on this assurance.

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  • The High Court’s decision to grant an injunction against the order of transfer was not justified.
  • The reasons given by the High Court, such as the location of the headquarters and the spouse’s medical condition, are not valid justifications for the injunction.
  • The High Court did not find any evidence of the transfer order being mala fide or unlawful.
  • The High Court overstepped its jurisdiction by interfering with the transfer order.
  • Individual hardships should be assessed by the employer, not dictated by the court.
  • The High Court’s interference with the transfer order goes against established legal principles and precedents.
  • The way the High Court used its judicial power to block a lawful transfer order is concerning.
  • The Supreme Court disapproves of the High Court’s actions and finds them in breach of legal principles.
  • There is no lawful right for the respondent to insist on a posting at Mumbai.
  • The respondent cannot demand a posting to any place of his preference.
  • Jurisdiction cannot be misused to pressure the Union government to assign the respondent to a location of his liking.

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  • The appeal is allowed and the interim order of the High Court staying the transfer is set aside.
  • The appellant must report at Bhubaneshwar within one week and can then make a representation to the Union of India regarding the transfer.
  • The interim order of the High Court is vacated.


Case Number: C.A. No.-001236-001236 / 2020

Click here to read/download original judgement

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