6 Dec 2021 12:21 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court on Monday quashed a Single Bench order wherein a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe had been ordered into 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 Central...
The Calcutta High Court on Monday quashed a Single Bench order wherein a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe had been ordered into 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 Central School Service Commission (WBSSC). Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had directed the CBI to submit a preliminary report in this regard by December 21.
On November 23, West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and the West Bengal Central School Service Commission had jointly moved a Division Bench comprising Justices Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samanta against the impugned order. Consequently, the Division Bench had stayed the impugned order for for 3 weeks.
On Monday, the Division Bench set aside the impugned order and further set up an inquiry committee headed by Justice Ranjit Kumar Bagh, former judge of the Calcutta High Court. The other members of the committee include 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 further directed the inquiry panel to submit a report in this regard within 2 months.
In a strongly worded order, Justice Gangopadhyay had observed that 'corruption writ large in the whole process of this public employment which is required to be dealt with in a firm hand'. He had 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?"
Emphasising on the need to conduct a probe by an impartial agency, Justice Gangopadhyay had further remarked,
"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"
In 2016, the State government had recommended the appointment of about 13,000 non-teaching staff in different government aided schools and accordingly the WBSSC had conducted examinations and interviews periodically and thereafter a panel had been constituted. The term of the panel had ended in 2019. However, subsequently, there were widespread allegations that the Commission had made several irregular recruitments close to almost 500 even after the expiry of the panel.
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.
Furthermore, the Court on November 23 had also taken on record the affidavit filed by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, the contents of which the Court had labelled as 'really surprising'. The Board had 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 had 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.
Case Title: West Bengal Board Of Secondary Education and Anr v. Sandeep Prasad and Ors
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