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SC stays CBI's further probe against WB officials in teachers recruitment scam

By Jhanak Singh      30 April, 2024 11:46 AM      0 Comments
SC stays CBIs further probe against WB officials in teachers recruitment scam

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday told the CBI not to take precipitative actions against West Bengal government officials in the teachers' recruitment case.

The court, however, declined to stay the Calcutta High Court's April 22 order regarding termination of over 25,000 teachers due to alleged irregularities and sought to know if tainted and untainted appointments could be segregated.

“We will stay the direction which says the CBI will undertake further investigation against officials in the state government,” a bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said.

However, the bench declined to stay the high court order in connection with the termination of over 25,000 teachers, saying the matter would require a detailed examination for it.

Hearing the West Bengal government's plea, the bench expressed serious concern about the agency which conducted the recruitment test.

The court told the West Bengal government counsel that they have to satisfy the court on how the Calcutta High Court had gone wrong.

"The OMR sheets were completely destroyed, mirror images are not there, people not on the panel are recruited. This is a complete fraud," the bench observed.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the West Bengal government, asked how the High Court could set aside all the appointments even when the CBI had found irregularities in only 8000 recruitment.

A counsel contended that there was no need to set aside all the appointments when the untainted appointments could have been segregated.

The bench sought to know how it is possible to segregate the untainted appointments given that the OMR sheets have been destroyed. A counsel pointed out that secondary material is available.

The bench said the question to all counsel, representing the state government, was to establish that on the basis of material available is it possible to segregate valid and invalid appointments and stressed that 25000 is a big number.

The bench said that 25,000 jobs were taken away, which is a serious thing.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave contended it was Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay who first ordered the CBI and now he has joined BJP.

Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Neeraj Kishan Kaul also questioned the validity of the High Court's order.

The bench scheduled the matter for further hearing on May 6.

The West Bengal government challenged the correctness of the HC's order invalidating the appointment of 25,753 teachers and non-teaching staff made by the School Service Commission (SSC) in state-run and state-aided schools.

The high court had said the CBI would undertake further investigations with regard to the persons involved in the state government approving the creation of a supernumerary post to accommodate illegal appointments.

The state government claimed the HC failed to appreciate the ramification of cancelling the entire selection process, leading to straightaway termination of teaching and non-teaching staff from service with immediate effect, without giving sufficient time to the petitioner state to deal with such an exigency, rendering the education system at a standstill.

The HC's division bench had ordered cancellation of all appointments made through the recruitment process of State Level Selection Test-2016 (SLST) in government and aided schools, declaring it as "null and void". It had also directed the selected candidates to refund the salaries paid to them.

The Mamata Banerjee government said the High Court proceeded in a cursory manner, in utter disregard to the fact that the cancelling all appointments will lead to a huge vacuum in the schools, especially when the new academic sessions is on its brim.

Over 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the SLST-2016, which was marred by the allegations of gross irregularities.

The matter which came to be known as cash for job scam has resulted into arrest of former state education minister Partha Chatterjee and others.



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