A bench consisting of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi passed an order delaying the transfer of a lady constable from Agartala to Gomathi. The petitioner constable had earlier alleged that she was being transferred because of critical remarks made by her husband against a local government hospital.
"The right of freedom of speech and expression would include the freedom of being critical of the public administration or authority," the order reads.
As per the complaint submitted by the petitioner, the issue began in August when her husband tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to a local government hospital. He later published an article in September about his experiences in the Dainik Sambad paper, alleging the lack of facilities and poor treatment in the hospital. Soon after, he was contacted by certain influential people, but upon refusal to retract his statement, a transfer order was issued for his wife.
The court noted that while government servants had to serve wherever they were posted, there was a prima facie case to impugn the transfer order.
"…The close proximity between the publication of the statement of the husband of the petitioner criticizing
Government hospital facilities and the order of transfer of the petitioner would persuade me to stay the same till final disposal of the petition," said CJ Kureshi, noting that abrogation of freedom of expression could be made in indirect ways and that any inroad into such freedom would be met by the constitutional court.
The transfer order passed on September 15th has been stayed and the constable has been permitted to continue her duties in the same station at Agartala.