Megh HC | “It is elementary that when the law requires a certain thing to be done in a particular manner, it has to be done in such manner or not at all”; Court upholds the dismissal of police official for passing information to outlaws

Meghalaya High Court: Sanjib Banerjee CJ. & W. Diengdoh J. while hearing a petition didn’t interfere with the judgment and order impugned dated 17-12-2021 and dismissed the petition.

The appellant was dismissed from the police service without being given proper opportunity to contend accusations levelled against him hereby violating Art 311(2): Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State.

A confidential report was rendered by Department which alleged that the appellant had passed on information pertaining to police operations and movements to a banned and extremist outfit by the name of Garo National Liberation Army. The order of dismissal alluded to the casualties suffered by the police and the confidential report thereby dismissing appellant from service immediately without any formal inquiry. The appellant called into question the step to not hold inquiry and record it in writing by relevant authority. According to him, “the mandatory inquiry may not be dispensed with unless the reasons therefore are recorded as to why it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry”. Thus, the order to dismiss him has no legs to stand on. Also, in case of internal security, satisfaction of the President or the Governor is also necessary.

The Court recorded the observations by appellate authority via order dated 23-10-2019 which affirmed that “the appellant had links with the banned outfit and had passed on information about police movements and operations to the outlawed organisation” and that the department had dealt with the matter in an appropriate manner. It was also observed earlier that since the matter pertained to the security of the State, the decision to summarily remove the appellant from service did not warrant any interference and it would have been futile to conduct any inquiry.

The Court held that the provisions of Art 311(2)(b) had been complied with and that some latitude had to be given to the police authorities especially in a scenario where no case of malice in fact was made out. Also a judicial note was given that it would be impractical to disclose the confidential information which would expose the identity of the sources or risk such sources to be cross-examined or their identities revealed. Subsequently, the petition was dismissed.[Sanjeeb Ch. Marak v. State of Meghalaya, MC (WA) No.1/2022 decided on 07-02-2022]

Appearances by:

For the Petitioner/Appellant(s): Mr KC Gautam, Adv

For the Respondent(s): Mr B Bhattacharjee, AAG with Ms ZE Nongkynrih, GA

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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