WP(C) No. 398 of 2014. Case: Ardinson T. Sangma and Ors. Vs State of Meghalaya and Ors.. Meghalaya High Court

Case NumberWP(C) No. 398 of 2014
Party NameArdinson T. Sangma and Ors. Vs State of Meghalaya and Ors.
CounselFor Appellant: S.P. Mahanta and S. Pde, Advs. and For Respondents: S. Sen Gupta, Adv.
JudgesVed Prakash Vaish, J.
IssueAdministrative Tribunals Act, 1985 - Section 19; Assam Home Guards Act, 1947 - Sections 6, 8; Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) - Section 80; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 16, 311, 335, 39, 41, 46
Judgement DateFebruary 20, 2017
CourtMeghalaya High Court

Judgment:

Ved Prakash Vaish, J.

  1. By way of the present petition, the petitioners seek quashing of the impugned termination order dated 25th June, 2014 whereby the services of the petitioners were dispensed with. The petitioners also prayed for direction to the respondents to reinstate them in services as Forest Guards and further to formulate a policy/scheme and reinstate the petitioners with full service benefits.

  2. According to the petitioners they are trained as Home Guards Personnels who were requisitioned and appointed as Forest Guards in various forest ranges of Garo Hills area of Meghalaya at different time since 27th April, 1994 onwards.

  3. It is stated that the petitioners continued with their services and posted as Forest Guards in the interior region of Garo Hills protecting the forest from timber smugglers, poachers and other anti-social elements.

  4. The petitioners allege that they were shocked and surprised to know about the common order dated 25th June, 2014 issued by the respondent No. 9, Divisional Forest Officer, Garo Hills Division, Tura and addressed to the Commandant, Home Guards, West Garo Hills, Tura informing him that the services of the Home Guards volunteers deputed to Garo Hills Division for protection of forest are not dispensed with by the Department.

  5. The petitioners, being aggrieved by the impugned order, filed a representation to the respondent Commandant Home Guards on 08th July, 2014 followed by another representation to the Minister of Home (Civil Defence & Home Guards), Government of Meghalaya and also by issuing notice dated 18th August, 2014 under Section-80 of the Code of Civil Procedure praying for their reinstatement. However, they received no response from the respondents. Hence, the petitioners have filed the present petition.

  6. Mr. S.P. Mahanta, learned senior counsel for the petitioners vehemently argued that no prior notice much less show cause notice or termination order has ever been issued to the petitioners and the impugned order was passed without taking into consideration the long length of services rendered by the petitioners.

  7. Learned senior counsel further argued that before dispensing with or terminating the services of the petitioners they are required to be given a chance of being heard which is the very minimum requirement under the service jurisprudence to uphold the rule of natural justice. The action of the respondents in issuing a common impugned order is totally illegal, wholly arbitrary and liable to be set aside and quashed.

  8. Learned senior counsel for the petitioners has drawn the attention of this Court by contending that the petitioners had been serving the Forest Department in most harsh condition with a meager salary and with an expectation that they would be regularized which was promised from time to time by the respondents but having served the respondents for about 4 to 20 years the petitioners were removed from service. It is also stated that the prime age of the petitioners have been used by the respondents for serving them as Forest Guards with a meager salary of Rs. 9,100/- pm and at the fag end of their careers, the respondents have most casually and unconstitutional removed the petitioners from their services.

  9. Learned senior counsel for petitioners also contends that the action of the respondents being violative of principles of natural justice, right to work and also articles 14, 16, 39, 41, 46, 311 and 335 of the Constitution of India, are liable to be set aside and quashed. In support of his submissions, learned senior counsel for the petitioners relied upon the judgment in case 'DAVINDER SINGH & ORS VERSUS STATE OF PUNJAB & ORS.' reported as (2010) 13 SCC 88.

  10. The petition has been opposed by the respondents by filing counter affidavit. It is pleaded in the counter affidavit that Home Guards is purely a voluntary...

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