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SC stays Calcutta HC's order cancelling appointment of 25,000 teachers and non-teaching staff

By Jhanak Singh      08 May, 2024 11:34 AM      0 Comments
SC stays Calcutta HCs order cancelling appointment of teachers and non teaching staff

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the April 22 Calcutta High Court order cancelling the appointment of over 25,000 teachers and non-teaching staff, in state-run and state-aided schools of West Bengal.

The top court, however, allowed the CBI to continue with its investigation into the recruitment scam but restrained it from taking any coercive against either the candidates or the officials.

The order comes as a big relief to the Mamata Banerjee government during the ongoing general elections as the High Court's order came as a big embarassment to the TMC government.

Reacting to the development, WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a post on X, "I am really very happy and mentally relaxed on receipt of justice at the highest Court of the land. Congratulations to the entire teaching fraternity and my humble regards to the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India."

Hearing WB's appeal, a bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra also questioned the state government, as to why OMR sheets and scanned copies of answer sheets had been destroyed.

"You were duty-bound to maintain the documents in digitised form. Now, it is obvious that there is no data," the bench told the state counsel.

The bench also observed, "The public job is so scarce. Nothing remains if the faith of the public goes. This is systemic fraud".

Upon hearing the counsel, the bench said the matter would require closer look to ascertain whether those appointment, which suffered from any taint, can be segregated.

If such segregation is possible then it would be wrong to set aside the entirety of the process, the bench pointed out.

After noting that a large number of teachers would be affected, the bench said if such a segregation is possible, this court has to set out the modalities to determine the process.

The court explained it was willing to continue the interim protection granted to the candidates, subject to the stipulation that anyone found to have been appointed illegally and continued as a consequence of the present order would refund the salary.

During the hearing of appeal by the West Bengal government, the court asked it as why it created supernumerary posts and hired wait-listed candidates when the selection process itself was under challenge in court.

The court fixed the matter for consideration on July 16.

On April 29, the top court had stayed the CBI probe against West Bengal government officials in the teachers' recruitment case.

The West Bengal government challenged the validity 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.

During the hearing, senior advocate Dushyant Dave repeated sought to highlight the order passed by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, leading to the CBI probe into the matter. Justice Gangopadhyay subsequently resigned from the post and contested Lok Sabha polls as a BJP candidate.

The bench reminded Dave to maintain decorum as the court was not concerned with Justice Gangopadhyay's conduct.



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