KH.NOBIN SINGH,J. -
(1.) Heard Ms. Geetarani Waikhom, learned Advocate appearing for the petitioner and Shri S. Suresh, learned ASG appearing for the respondents.
(2.) The validity and correctness of the letter dated 02-07-2020 issued by the CO, 14 Manipur Bn. NCC, Imphal, Manipur and the letter dated 29-06-2020 issued by the Lt. Col. AD(A), NCC NER are under challenge in this writ petition and in addition thereto, it has been prayed by the petitioner to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ to consider the case of the petitioner for selection to the post of the Associate National Cadet Corps Officer (ANO) of NCC Trp. No. 6, Nambol Higher Secondary School, 14(M) Bn. NCC, Imphal.
3.1 According to the petitioner, he is presently serving as the Lecturer in the subject of Statistics at Nambol Higher Secondary School under the Education Department, Manipur. After Shri Sh. Shantikumar Singh who was the ANO of NCC Trp. No. 6, the Nambol Higher Secondary School, having been transferred from the School, the petitioner was allowed to look after the activities of NCC as the Caretaker (in-charge).
3.2 A notification dated 29-09-2019 was issued by the Group Commander, NCC Group HQ, Imphal inviting applications for appointment to the post of ANO in the Senior Division/ Senior Wing and Junior Division/ Junior Wing in various Colleges/ Schools in Manipur and the requisite qualification for the male candidate should not be less than 21 years of age and should not be above 45 years as on 25-11-2019. The upper age limited is relaxable by three years i.e., 48 years of age at the sole discretion of the DG, NCC. The petitioner applied for the said post of ANO, for which the Principal, Nambol Higher Secondary School submitted an application dated 11-11-2019 to the CO, 14 (M) Bn. NCC, Imphal for the relaxation of the upper age as provided in the rules.
3.3 After a proper scrutiny of the petitioner's application, his name was shown at Sl. No. 3 of the Nominal Roll of CTs who applied for the said post and the Nominal Roll was issued by the CO, 14(M) Bn. NCC, Imphal after his application being accepted by the respondents. The selection for the post of ANO in educational institutions, Manipur, is held only once in a decade and it is fortunate for the petitioner that the said notification dated 23-09-2019 was issued after a long wait prior to his being age-barred. A letter dated 04-02-2020 was addressed by the CO, 14(M) Bn. NCC, Imphal to NCC Group HQ 'GOLF' furnishing the details of the CTs who applied for ANO for purpose of appearing before the Selection Board. On the next day i.e., 05-02-2020, a letter was issued by the Additional Officer, NCC Group HQ, Imphal informing all NCC Units to ensure that all the candidates were present at Group HQ Complex by 10:30 am on 13-02-2020 for the Interview before the State Selection Board.
3.4 A letter dated 07-02-2020 was addressed by the CO, 14 (M) Bn. NCC, Imphal to all concerned Colleges/ Schools including the petitioner's Schools informing all the concerned CTs who have applied for the post of ANO to be present at Group HQ on 13-02-2020. The petitioner appeared before the Selection Board on 13-02-2020 as directed and performed at his best level.
3.5 As the petitioner did not receive any official result of the selection test, he submitted representations dated 28-05-2020 and 16-06-2020 to the Additional Director, NER Directorate, NCC, Shillong and the Director General, NCC Headquarter, New Delhi. In response to his representation dated 28-05-2020, a letter dated 02-07-2020 was sent by the CO, 14(M) Bn. NCC, Imphal, Manipur to the School, through registered post, which was being used as the quarantine centre and accordingly, the petitioner could receive it only on 27-07-2020. A letter dated 29-06-2020, issued by the Lt. Col. AD(A), NCC, NER to the NCC Group HQ, Imphal, was enclosed therewith rejecting the prayer of the petitioner on the ground that he was not eligible to become ANO as per age criteria laid down by the HQ, DG, NCC and that he was beyond 48 years of age. Being aggrieved by the said letters, the instant writ petition has been filed by the petitioner contending inter-alia that he fulfilled all the criteria laid down for selection to the post of ANO at the time of submission of his application form. It is the CO Unit who had to obtain approval from the DG, NCC. After his upper age limit having been relaxed, he was allowed to appear before the Selection Board. He was a qualified teacher for holding the post of ANO of Trp. No. 6 Nambol Higher Secondary School, 14(M) Bn. NCC, Imphal. The negligence or lapses on the part of the official respondents could not be the ground to contend that he was ineligible for appointment as ANO. The non-selection of the petitioner to the post of ANO by the Selection Board by merely returning the application form was arbitrary and malafide which amount to violation of the principles of natural justice. The action of the respondents in not recommending /selecting him to the post of ANO was in violation of the Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. ;