(1.) BY his order dated 28 -3 -67 Shri R. Natarajan, Deputy Commissioner, Mizo District, Mizoram, dismissed the writ petitioner Sri Ngunhulha when the latter was holding the post of headmaster of the Government Middle English School at Tawipui. The petitioner now challenges the validity and constitutional vires of that order.
(2.) ON 28th February, 1966, a widespread armed rebellion broke out in the Mizo District of Assam State. It was led by a political party called Mizo National Front (hereinafer called the Front). On 1st March, 1966, that party issued a proclamation styled 'Independence Bill' declaring the Mizo District to be a sovereign Independent Republic called Mizo ram and pledging to achieve that end by armed revolt. To meet the situation the Central Government issued a notification on 6th March, 1966, directing that Rule 32 of the Defence of India Rules, 1962, shall be applicable to the Mizo National Front. The Superintendent of Police, Delhi Special Branch, Mizo Hills, Aijal, submitted a report, dated 10 -3 -1967 to the Deputy Commissioner, Mizoram, stating inter alia that the present petitioner Ngunhulha had joined the Front and that he was one of its senators and also a signatory of the so -called Independence Bill. Probably on the authority of that report the Deputy Commissioner, Mizoram, initiated departmental proceedings on 17 -3 -67 against the present petitioner in terms of the Assam Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1964, briefly called the Rules hereafter. The articles of charge included inter alia that the petitioner had joined the Front and had thereby violated Rule 21 of the Assam Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1937, that he had been guilty of gross and deliberate misbehaviour and was acting against the interests of the country in continuing to be a member of the Front, that he had taken employment under the Front and accepted office in its set up as Assistant Collector of Taxes and that he had absented himself from duty since 28 -2 -66 without having taken permission of or leave from the competent authority. It was also mentioned in the articles of charge that the petitioner had deserted his post of duty and that he had been guilty of gross misbehaviour for having not reported for duty. A copy each of the notice issued to the petitioner was forwarded to the Nazir for publication on the notice board of the Deputy Commissioner's office and the Assistant Inspector of Schools, Aijal for identical purpose. The petitioner was called upon to submit his reply to the charge by 27 -3 -67. The Assistant Inspector of Schools, Aijal in turn, the departmental file reveals, forwarded a copy each of the notice to the Deputy Inspectors of Schools, Aijal and Lungleh for wide publicity. The Nazir and the Assistant Inspector of Schools having carried out the direction given to them by the Deputy Commissioner, the papers were placed before the latter on 28 -3 -1967 for necessary orders. In the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner on that date it was mentioned that the charges framed against the delinquent had been duly served, having been hung in his notice board and that of the local departmental head of the Government servant concerned. It was then stated that the delinquent was reported 'to have joined the M. N. F. and has absconded', and that 'it is not, therefore, possible or reasonably practicable to follow the procedure detailed in Rule 9 of the Assam Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1964, in respect of these proceedings against the Government servant.' As a consequence, the order runs further, 'recourse is hereby taken to Rule 10(ii) of the said Rules and final order is passed.' In second paragraph of that order the Deputy Commissioner mentioned that he felt satisfied that the charges framed against the delinquent are according to the reports received, true and proved, and then the Deputy Commissioner made an order dismissing the delinquent with immediate effect and directed in addition that the delinquent shall not be eligible for re -appointment in Government service nor entitled to any pay and other allowances or any other dues from 28 -2 -1966 (the day on which he deserted the post of duty) onwards.
The writ petition was filed by Ngunhulha on 17 -7 -1972, He denied therein that he had deserted his post of duty and affirmed that since on account of the rebellion it became impossible for him to continue at Tawipui, he shifted to Mualcheng, a village three miles away from Tawipui, in October, 1966. He denied that he had been served with the show cause notice respecting the charges framed by the Deputy Commissioner and added that he learned about his dismissal on 4th June, 1971 'when he took a certified copy of the aforesaid order dated 28th March, 1967, from the Deputy Inspector of Schools, Lungleh.' The petitioner averred that he was arrested on 10th June, 1968, while he was on his way to Lungleh, that he was let out on bail on 5th February, l971, and that since he had not been keeping good health eversince the date of his arrest he had not been able to file the petition earlier. He admitted in his writ petition that the criminal charge levelled against him was under Section 121, I.P.C., relevant number of the case being G.R. 212 of 1966, and that he had not received any pay since February, 1966, and that that circumstance had made him and his family members to live in a state of semistarvation.
(3.) THE validity of the dismissal order was assailed by the petitioner on three grounds, namely, (1) it violated the principles of natural justice, (2) it had infringed the Constitutional guarantee outlined in Article 511(2) of the Constitution, and (3) that the Deputy Commissioner had no justification for taking recourse to Rule 10(ii) of the Rules.;