13 April 2022 10:15 AM GMT
In a temporary relief to senior West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, a Division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday extended a stay for five weeks on an earlier order that directed him to appear before the CBI in connection with a petition alleging irregularities in appointment of assistant teachers in state government-aided schools.The direction was issued while adjudicating upon...
In a temporary relief to senior West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, a Division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday extended a stay for five weeks on an earlier order that directed him to appear before the CBI in connection with a petition alleging irregularities in appointment of assistant teachers in state government-aided schools.
The direction was issued while adjudicating upon a batch of petitions pertaining to the alleged irregularities in the appointment of '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 School Service Commission (WBSSC).
In the impugned order, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had directed the then Education Minister Partha Chatterjee to appear before the CBI for interrogation by Tuesday evening. He had further granted liberty to the CBI to interrogate Chatterjee by taking him into custody if the CBI thinks that Chatterjee is not co-opertaing with the CBI.
"Now in respect of this matter C. B. I. will register a case and will start interrogating such persons including the then Hon'ble Education Minister Mr. Partha Chatterjee who cannot be kept out of the dragnet of C. B. I. C. B. I. is directed to call Mr. Partha Chatterjee in course of the day. I direct Mr. Partha Chatterjee to present himself before the Head of the C. B. I. in this State in Nizam Palace by 5-30 p.m. today, otherwise necessary orders would be passed by this court which may be very unpleasant", Justice Gangopadhyay had ordered.
On Wednesday, a Division Bench comprising Justice Subrata Talukder and Justice A K Mukherjee extended a stay on the impugned order for a period of 5 weeks.
"Since the Committee has been now requested to complete the enquiry into the Group-C appointments and submit its Report within four weeks, the Order of stay as granted by this Court on the 12th of April, 2022 shall continue for a period of five weeks from this date", the Court ordered.
The Division Bench further refused to accept the resignation of Justice (retired) R K Bag from the chairmanship of a committee appointed earlier by another division bench of the Court to inquire into the allegations, and requested it to complete investigation in Group C-post appointments. Justice (retired) R K Bag had addressed a communication to the Registrar General of the High Court dated April 11, seeking recusal from the enquiry connected to appointments to Group-C posts under the SSC.
Refusing to accept such a resignation, the Bench observed,
"..in the larger interests of the ultimate adjudication of the issues presented, the offer to resign by the Chairperson is respectfully not accepted. The Chairperson is requested to continue with the Committee as already appointed by the Orders dated 6th December, 2021 and 24th February, 2022 (supra) and complete the enquiry into appointments to Group-C posts."
Accordingly, the Court appointed inquiry Committee was directed to submit its report on the probe within a period of 4 weeks.
The Division Bench had earlier allowed the CBI to interrogate S.P. Sinha, former chairman of the School Service Commission's advisory committee, and former education secretary Alok Sarkar pertaining to the alleged irregularities in the appointment of 'Group-D' (non-teaching staff) in State aided schools but had barred the agency from taking them into custody.
A five-member Committee had been constituted 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. The 5 members of the High Powered Committee 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
Case Title: Dr. Santi Prasad Sinha v. Laxmi Tunga and Ors
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 118
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