NOBIN SINGH,J. -
(1.) Heard Shri Kh. Tarunkumar, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners; Shri S. Suresh, learned ASG appearing for the respondents in WP(C) No.1037 of 2015 and Shri S. Samarjeet, learned CGC appearing for the respondents in WP(C) No.959 of 2015.
(2.) Since similar issues are involved in both the writ petitions, they are being disposed by this common judgment and order.
(3.) By this writ petition, the petitioner has prayed for issuing a writ of certiorari to quash and set aside the order of removal dated 29-09-2014 issued by the Commandant, 197 Bn. CRPF and the order dated 23-04-2015 issued by the DIG, CRPF, Amethi Range, GC Campur, Lucknow, UP rejecting his statutory appeal.
3.1 Facts and circumstances as narrated in the writ petition, are that the petitioner was recruited as a Constable (GD) in the Central Reserve Police Force (hereinafter referred to as "the CRPF"?) and was given F/No. 075150986 CT/GD under F/197 Battalion, CRPF. While he was being posted at the Unit Headquarter, Chaibasha, Jharkhand, he was granted thirty days Earned Leave w.e.f. 29-05-2013 to 27-06-2013 and was required to report for duty on 27-06-2013. As he was required to report for duty on 27-06-2013, he went to Group Centre, CRPF, Langjing on 26-06-2013 for going by air courier, to which one of the officials of the air counter at the Group Centre asked him to go back home as he could report on the morning of 27-06-2013 at 05:30 a.m. at the Imphal Airport. While returning home, he sustained injury at a road accident and was admitted at the Orthopaedic Department, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal and the doctor who attended him there, advised him to take rest for fifteen days after the petitioner being operated upon for lacerated injury.
3.2 On 21-08-2013, the petitioner submitted a representation to the Commandant, 197 Bn. CRPF, Chaibasa, Jharkhand informing that he could not report at his place of posting on account of the said accident. It so happened that while he was undergoing treatment, he suffered Hepatitis (Jaundice) while trying to go back to his place of posting and accordingly, he was examined at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal on 10-09-2013 and he had to undergo some clinical tests. While the petitioner was undergoing treatment with regular follow up, the Commandant, 197 Bn., CRPF issued a warrant of arrest dated 04-10-2013 against him for which the Superintendent of Police, Thoubal, Manipur was requested to arrest him and make arrangement for his production before the DIGP, Group Centre, CRPF, Imphal, Manipur under proper escort.
3.3 On 14-04-2014, the Commandant, 197 Bn., CRPF, Chaibasha, West Singbhum, Jharkhand issued a memorandum, containing the article of charges and statement of imputation of misconduct with lists of witnesses and documents, whereby the petitioner was charged for over-staying of leave w.e.f. 28-06-2013 without any permission from the competent authority. Shri Arjun Lal Garhawal, Assistant Commandant, 197 Bn., CRPF was appointed as the Enquiry Officer while no Presenting Officer was appointed and after the enquiry was allegedly over, the Enquiry Officer submitted its findings of the ex-parte departmental enquiry holding that the charges leveled against the petitioner were held to be proved. Thereafter, the Commandant, 197 Bn., CRPF furnished a copy of the enquiry report to the petitioner at his residence asking him to submit his representation, if any, against the ex-parte departmental enquiry but he could not submit it as he was suffering from Hepatitis. Accordingly, the Commandant, 197 Bn., CRPF issued an order dated 29-09-2014 imposing a penalty of "Removal from Service"? w.e.f. 29-04-2014 and his period of absence from 28-06-2013 till the date of issuance of the order dated 29-09-2014 was treated as dies non.
3.4 Being aggrieved by the said order dated 29-09-2014, the petitioner preferred a statutory appeal before the appellate authority/ Deputy Inspector General of Police, CRPF, Amithi Range, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on the inter-alia grounds that the non-appointment of the Presenting Officer and non-compliance with the Rules 31(a) of the CRPF Rules, 1955 etc. vitiated the proceedings and that without taking into consideration the grounds raised by the petitioner, his statutory appeal was rejected as devoid of merit.
3.5 Being aggrieved further by the said orders dated 29-09-2014 and 23-04-2015, the instant writ petition has been filed by the petitioner on the inter-alia grounds that he had no intention to avoid joining his duty and he could not report at his place of duty on account of illness; that since no Presenting Officer was appointed, the Enquiry Officer himself examined the witnesses produced before him and recorded their statement by acting himself as a Judge as well as a Prosecutor which is not permissible in the eye of law; that the ex-parte departmental enquiry was proceeded in violation of the principle of natural justice and that the charge leveled against him was vague on the basis of which he was removed from service. ;