The Manipur High Court has quashed and set aside the impugned order of suspension, as well as the impugned removal order of 18-year missing IRB personnel, issued by the Commandant, 2nd IRB, Imphal.
Missing IRB personnel, Ph Premkumar Singh, son of Phanjoubam Birahari Singh of Andro Khuman Leikai, Imphal East, was serving as a Rifleman in the 2nd Indian Reserve Battalion and he was posted in the ‘C’-Company of the 2nd IRB. However, at the time he went missing, he was attached to the Commando Unit of the Moirang Police Station.
On April 28, 2005, the commandant, 2nd IRB, sent an official message to the father of missing personnel through a special messenger intimating that his son, along with one of his friends, have been absent from his post since March 13, 2005 and both of them did not return back to the post and that their whereabouts are not known till that date.
Instead of making an all-out effort for tracing the missing personnel and despite having knowledge that the IRB personnel was missing without any clue, the Commandant, 2nd IRB, issued an order on August 18, 2005 placing the missing personnel under suspension in contemplation of a Departmental Enquiry.
Thereafter, a Departmental Enquiry was initiated against the missing personnel issuing a memorandum and by framing charges of absented himself from his place of posting. Further, the commandant, 2nd IRB, issued an order dated 14-07-2006 ordering the removal of missing IRB personnel from service.
After about 10 years from the date of missing, father of the IRB personnel submitted a representation dated 07-10-2015 for paying Death-cum-Retirement Gratuity, admissible GPF, admissible GIS, Leave Encashment and family pension due payable to his son, however without any positive result.
The aggrieved father approached the court by filing the present writ petition to redress his grievances.
The High Court said that the manner in which the authorities proceeded with the Departmental Enquiry against the missing personnel is arbitrary and illegal for the simple reason that the authorities knew all along that the personnel went missing since 13-03-2005 without any trace or clue and nobody knew anything about his whereabouts.
Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances, the HC opined that the court can reasonably presumed that the personnel had expired as he remained missing for the last more than 18 years without anyone knowing about his whereabouts, especially when this fact is not controverted by the respondents.
Therefore, the suspension and removal orders were set aside and quashed with direction to the state government, DGP and commanding officer of 2nd IRB, to release all the service benefits and retiral benefits due payable to rifleman (Late) Ph Premkumar Singh to the present petitioner within a period of three months.