Right to meaningful family life part of right to life under Art 21: Delhi High Court allows transfer of IAS officer from WB to TN

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday held that the right to a meaningful family life, which helps in retaining physical, psychological and emotional integrity, would “find a place in the four corners of Article 21” of the Constitution of India (Lakshmi Bhavya Tanneeru v. Union of India).

A Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh held,

“We have no doubt that the right to meaningful family life, which allows a person to live a fulfilling life and helps in retaining her/his physical, psychological and emotional integrity would find a place in the four corners of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, when the State unreasonably denies a request of an employee [in this case, the petitioner] seeking inter-cadre transfer, it impinges upon such person’s right to demand respect for her/his family life.”

The Court was hearing a plea by an IAS officer from the West Bengal cadre who sought issuance of a direction to the State of West Bengal to communicate its non-objection to the Government of India’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), in her request for an inter-cadre transfer after she married a Tamil Nadu-cadre IAS officer.

The Government of Tamil Nadu communicated a no-objection to the request, but the State of West Bengal expressed its inability to grant consent, reasoning that it was facing an acute shortage of officers. However, the State of West Bengal offered to absorb the petitioner’s spouse if he wished to transfer

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