Corruption In UP Asst Teacher Recruitment: Govt Says No To CBI Probe, Allahabad HC Orders One [Read Judgment]
HC says from last 20yrs, all selection process of govt marred by corruption
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Thursday ordered CBI probe into the entire process of selection initiated for the recruitment of 68,500 assistant teachers in primary schools in Uttar Pradesh after the Yogi Adityanath government submitted that it was not ready to hand over the probe to the CBI despite its three-member inquiry committee coming under question for sitting over evidence of corruption.
“The Director, Central Bureau of Investigation shall make investigation in regard to the entire process of selection initiated for the recruitment of Assistant Teachers in Primary Schools against 68,500 posts, which is known as Assistant Teacher Recruitment Examination, 2018 initiated in pursuance to an advertisement dated 23.1.2018, taking into consideration the observation made in the order and the material taken notice by this Court and submit a report of the progress of the investigation in the matter to this Court on the date fixed. However, it is further directed that against the Officers who are found involved in corrupt practices, if any, necessary action in accordance with law be taken by the competent authority,” ordered Justice Irshad Ali.
Justice Ali ordered that the CBI shall complete the investigation within six months.
The court, which has been hearing a bunch of similar petitions, ordered a probe into the entire process of selection after prima facie evidence revealed that that many candidates had been awarded 65 marks but at least 3 to 4 answers in their answer sheets were not marked.
In one such petition, the petitioner was awarded 65 marks and after supply of his scanned copy, it was revealed that he should have been awarded 80 marks while in other petition, the candidate was awarded 61 marks when he should have secured 91 marks, had his answer sheet been rightly marked.
In the case of petitioner Sonika Devi, the court noted that the handwriting on the first page of the answer sheet which contains a bar code did not match with the remaining answer sheets meaning thereby, that her answer sheet had been changed.
“On perusal of the records of the said writ petitions and the leading writ petition of Sonika Devi, it is revealed that the awarding of marks to the candidates appears to be deliberate to defeat their right of selection. The allegations of corruption are made against the agency as well as against the examination conducting authorities, therefore, there exist justification for enquiry/investigation against the Officers involved in the entire selection proceedings,” said Justice Ali.
Before ordering a CBI probe, Justice Ali also took note of the report of the three-member enquiry committee formed by the state which admitted that there are 12 candidates, whose copies were found to be changed. 23 candidates who were declared to be qualified were found to be not qualified in the first list. In the second list, 24 candidates who were found not qualified in the written examination declared on 13.8.2018 have been found to be qualified.
The enquiry also revealed that the firm which was engaged for coding and decoding had committed mistake and pages of the copies of the candidates were found attached to copies of other candidates appeared in the said examination.
The court also lambasted the government constituting the enquiry committee just to save its skin.
“…time has come that this Court may proceed with fool proof process to investigate the process of selection, therefore, this Court is satisfied that the State Government only to save the skin of the officers involved have constituted 3-member committee of whom 2 officers belong to the Basic Education Department to which recruitment on the post of Assistant Teachers were held by holding the examination in 2018 and the committee did nothing.
“The agency which was hired by the State Government for bar coding had also accepted that copies of 12 candidates were changed, in spite of that acceptance, no criminal proceeding for making cheating in change of copies has been initiated against the agency till date,” the court noted.
The court then asked the State government if it was ready to handover the probe to CBI. The Advocate General submitted that the State was not in favour of a CBI probe.
For past 20yrs, every selection process of govt is marred by corruption
While deciding in favour of probe by an independent agency, Justice Ali observed, “Allegations of rampant corruption and illegal selections have been levelled in the present selection proceeding. It is expected from the State Government to make free and fair selections. In the Basic Schools, there are complaints in wide-scale illegal selections with nefarious objective to fulfil political manifesto as well as to promote parochial menace in the services of the State and thereby blatantly violating the Fundamental Rights of the citizens.
“From almost last 20 years, in each and every selection proceeding conducted by the State Government or by the selection board or commission, it is seen that sometimes question papers are out, sometimes the officers who are involved in the selection proceeding have been found to be involved in corrupt practices, but in spite of that no strict action is taken and only to divert the mind of the candidates, certain enquiry committees have been constituted who have done nothing, therefore, time has come that this Court may proceed with foolproof process to investigate the process of selection…”
So disquieted was the bench that it remarked, “This is an examination for providing employment in the State of Uttar Pradesh to the unemployed youth who are waiting since long to get employment in these hard days.”
Justice Ali held it to be prima facie a case of breach of trust of the candidates who have applied for the selection process under bonafide belief that there shall be free and fair selection proceeding for recruitment of assistant teachers as well as it is found that there were large number of deliberate and willful attempts in not awarding correct marks to the candidates appearing in the said recruitment process.