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Phlanstar Kharsohnoh v/s State of Meghalaya & Others

    WP(C) No. 52 of 2019

    Decided On, 12 September 2022

    At, High Court of Meghalaya


    For the Petitioner: S. Bhattacharjee, Advocate. For the Respondents: For R1 & R2, H. Kharmih, Add. Sr. GA, R3, P. Yobin, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Judgment & Order (Oral):

1. The petitioner is seeking a mandamus for quashing of the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the respondent No. 3 and to allow him to join the service, and also for release of the outstanding arrears from the period of 14.08.2015 till the date of joining. Further, a prayer has been made for release of subsistence allowance as admissible.

2. It is noted that this is a second round of litigation entered into by the petitioner, questioning the termination of his service by the respondent School (respondent No. 3).

3. In the earlier round being WP(C) No. 104 of 2017, this Court by order dated 12.07.2018 while disposing of the same had issued specific directions to the Managing Committee which is contained at Para-10 of the said judgment, and is reproduced hereinbelow:-

"10. The Managing Committee shall take a decision regarding release of withheld salary w.e.f. 1st March, 2013 to 13th August, 2015 within 15 days. The Managing Committee shall initiate action whatever permissible under rules regarding the alleged disappearance/absence from duty of the petitioner from 14th August, 2015 till date, and also to initiate enquiry if they so chose in the light of the complaint so received regarding MGNREGA benefit by the petitioner. Subject to rules to place petitioner under suspension pending enquiry/proceedings followed by disciplinary proceedings, if initiated, to be concluded within a period of three months."

4. It appears that pursuant to the order of this Court, the petitioner was paid the back salary for the period he had worked i.e. from 01.03.2013 to 13.08.2015. It appears also that certain action was initiated, whereby the petitioner was issued with show cause notices, asking to show cause to his absence from School w.e.f. 14.08.2015.

5. To the show cause dated 17.09.2018, the petitioner in his reply which is annexed at Annexure 21 of the writ petition, instead of replying to such show cause has in a defiant manner challenged the authority of the Managing Committee to take up a proceeding against him. Thereafter, as reflected from the records, the Dy. Director of School Education & Literacy had addressed a communication to the respondent No. 2, seeking information as to the action/response of the respondent Managing Committee to the said show cause and letter given to the petitioner.

6. From the affidavit of the respondent No. 3, it is seen that the order of termination w.e.f. 14.08.2015 had been issued to the writ petitioner and for which the same was awaiting approval. The letter seeking approval is dated 06.08.2018.

7. Without dwelling upon the submissions of the learned counsel for the parties who have raised rival contentions with regard to the irregularities and illegalities in the entire proceedings pursuant to the order of this Court, it is noted with concern the discrepancies in the entire sequence of events. Firstly if the records speak correctly, the order of approval was sought before the show cause notice was issued to the petitioner. The first show cause is dated 17.09.2018 and the second show cause is dated 20.09.2018, however, the letter seeking approval for termination, which is annexed in the affidavit of the respondent No. 3 is dated 06.08.2018. Though, the resolution on the basis of which this approval has been sought, has been shown done pursuant to the order of this Court, the same leaves doubts as to the manner of its execution.

8. Looking into the totality of the circumstances, especially the fact that the petitioner has nowhere denied that he has not been absent from his duties in the earlier proceedings before this Court, coupled with the fact that there is no denial about his other activities and occupations, while being a deficit School teacher, however in the interest of justice, it is deemed necessary that he be given an opportunity of hearing.

9. Accordingly, though a lot of water has passed under the bridge and without going further into the competing rights and entitlements of the petitioner, the respondent No. 3 is directed to accord an opportunity of hearing to the writ petitioner, which shall be completed most expeditiously within a period of 2(two) months from the date of receipt of a certifi

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ed copy of this order. It is also directed that the statement of allegations should be clear and concise and show cause thereto be specific to the said allegations. 10. Needless to add, it is expected that the respondents will look into the matter in an unbiased manner. Liberty is also given to the respondent No. 3 to appoint an independent Inquiry Officer. 11. With the above noted directions, this writ petition stands closed and is accordingly disposed of.