22 Nov 2021 4:41 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the appointment of 'Group-C' and 'Group-D' (non-teaching staff) in sponsored Secondary and Higher Secondary schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) on the purported recommendation by the West Bengal Central...
The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the appointment of 'Group-C' and 'Group-D' (non-teaching staff) in sponsored Secondary and Higher Secondary schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) on the purported recommendation by the West Bengal Central School Service Commission.
On an earlier date of hearing, the Court had observed with dismay that 25 appointment letters had been issued by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education despite the West Bengal Central School Service Commission issuing no such recommendation. Later, the petitioners had further pointed out to the Court that additional 500 such appointments had been made. On the basis of suggestions by the government pleaders, Justice Gangopadhyay had also previously observed that he is contemplating setting up an inquiry panel under the aegis of a retired judge of this High Court.
Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay on Monday directed the CBI to submit a preliminary report in this regard by December 21. The Court also ordered for an enquiry committee to be set up to probe into the alleged irregularities in appointments.
"I direct the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation to constitute a committee, headed by an officer not below the rank of a Joint Director, with officers not below the rank of DIG to initiate the enquiry. It is expected that no person will be left out of this enquiry. CBI should also enquire a very important part of this serious illegality and irregularity as to whether there is any money trail in issuance of such recommendation letters and subsequent issuance of appointment letters to the persons", the Court observed.
Justice Gangopadhyay stated that such an order is being passed without showing any disrespect to the police force of the State and further emphasized that it is essential that a probe is conducted by an impartial agency.
"This is a matter of Education Department which is a State department and in such matters to instill confidence in the public as to the fairness in the appointment in posts for which money from the public exchequer would be spent there should be one enquiry by an impartial agency. I observe that the miscreants, there must be some persons behind this whole corrupt affair, whatever be their position in the society or in the polity, cannot be really political persons - they can take shelter under different political parties. So CBI should look into the extreme irregularity in this appointment from that angle also", the order recorded further.
The Court on Monday also took on record the affidavit filed by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, the contents of which the Court labelled as 'really surprising'. The Board apprised the Court that it is in possession of original recommendations issued by the Commission with District Inspector of Schools memo mentioned upon its recommendations and the entire data had been received by them in hard copies.
Justice Gangopadhyay noted that this shows that recommendations came from the Commission, be it West Bengal Central School Service Commission or West Bengal Regional School Service Commission, and accordingly the Board issued the appointment letters.
"Here lies the most important question. If the Commission or its regions did not issue any such recommendation letters which reached the Board's office, then how the Board issued the appointment letters. The Board has said that they received all such recommendation letters including a pen drive containing all such recommendation letters", the Court remarked further.
Accordingly, the Court observed that 'corruption writ large in the whole process of this public employment which is required to be dealt with in a firm hand'. It further underscored,
"Which is that invisible hand who prepared and sent the recommendation letters to the Board's office and which are the invisible hands who issued the recommendation letters as have been annexed under the signature of the Chair Person of the Regional School Service Commissions as has been disclosed by the Board?"
The petitioner was also directed to to file before the Court a tabular list annexing the recommendation letters or appointment letters which has come into their procession indicating in the said table the name of those persons, the dates of recommendations and dates of their appointment letters. This is to be filed by the petitioner on November 24, 2021 at 3 p.m. and a copy thereof, including copies of all other affidavits used in this matter including the writ application, is to be handed over to the learned advocate of the CBI day after tomorrow at 3 p.m.
The Court on November 17 had also taken on record a report filed by the Commission wherein the Commission had admitted that the panel and the waiting list for the posts of 'Group-C' and 'Group-D' had expired on 4th May, 2019. A notification published by the West Bengal Central School Service Commission on September 2, 2019 had also made a similar assertion. However, in spite of the expiry of the panel, 25 appointment letters had been issued by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education containing reference of recommendations issued by different regions like Western Region, Northern Region, Southern Region and Eastern Region. In this regard, Justice Gangopadhyay had also sought the personal attendance of Secretary of the West Bengal Central Service Commission.
The matter is slated to be heard next on November 24 at 3 pm.
Case Title: Sandeep Prasad & Ors v. State of W. B. & Ors
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