A committee constituted by the Calcutta High Court on Friday submitted a report on the alleged irregularities in appointments of Group-C posts in the state government-run schools in West Bengal on the purported recommendation by the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC).
A Division Bench had earlier set up an inquiry committee headed by Justice Ranjit Kumar Bagh, former judge of the Calcutta High Court to probe into the recruitment scam. The other members of the committee includes Asutosh Ghosh, Member of West Bengal School Service Commission, Paromita Roy, Deputy Secretary (Administration), West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and advocate Arunava Banerjee, a practicing lawyer of the High Court.
The Court appointed committee apprised a Bench comprising Justice Ananda Kumar Mukherjee and Justice Subrata Talukdar that 381 appointments for Group-C posts in the state government-run schools in West Bengal were made illegally.
Furthermore, the committee recommended criminal proceedings against four ex-state SSC officials and the incumbent president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. It also sought disciplinary proceedings against six other former senior SSC officials.
Advocate Arunabha Bandopadhyay, a member of the committee submitted the report before the Division Bench and stated that massive irregularities were committed in giving appointments to the 381 candidates after flouting existing rules and procedures.
The report further averred that a five-member panel constituted in 2019 by the order of the Joint Secretary to the Government of West Bengal, Education Department to oversee the recruitment of close to 13,000 non-teaching staff in government-aided schools did not have any legal validity. The 5 members of the panel were- S. P. Sinha, Advisor to the West Bengal Central School Service Commission - the Convenor, S. Acharya, Personal Secretary to Minister in Charge of the Department, P. K. Bandyopadhyay, OSD to the MIC of Education Department, A. K. Sarkar, Deputy Director (GA Section), Directorate of School Education Department, T. Panja, Senior Law Officer of the department.
Accordingly, the Court appointed committee recommended penal action to be taken against former SSC Chairman Saumitra Sarkar, former SSC secretary Ashok Saha, and S Acharya, who was the programme officer of SSC, besides SP Sinha and Kalyanmoy Ganguly.
Pursuant to the submissions, the Division Bench observed that it would pass its judgment in the matter on May 18.
"Mr. Arunava Banerjee, Learned Advocate and Member of the Committee of Enquiry appointed by the Hon'ble Court ( R.K. Bag Committee) for enquiring into the alleged illegal appointments under the School Service Commission pursuant to RLST-2016, submits and places the Report of the Committee connected to appointments in Group-C Posts, in terms of the previous direction of this Court dated 13th April, 2022. The other appearing Learned Senior Counsel and Learned Counsel also place their submissions. Hearing stands accordingly concluded. To appear next for Judgement on the 18th of May, 2022 at the first sitting of the Court", the Court recorded in its order.
The Court appointed committee had earlier submitted its report in the court on alleged irregularities in the appointments of Group-D staff in State government run schools. Furthermore, the Court had earlier extended a stay for five weeks on an order of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay that had the then Education Minister Partha Chatterjee to appear before the CBI for interrogation pertaining to the alleged recruitment scam.
Case Title: Dr Santi Prasad Sinha v. Laxmi Tunga and other connected matters