The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered that the daughter of West Bengal minister of state for school education Paresh Chandra Adhikari should not be allowed to enter the concerned school premises until further orders and must also deposit the total salary received so far during her tenure as an assistant school teacher with the Registrar General of the High Court.
The directions were issued while adjudicating upon a plea filed by an aggrieved candidate who had alleged that she had been deprived of the job despite having secured higher marks than the Minister's daughter in the recruitment examination. It had further been claimed by the petitioner that she had secured 77 marks in the recruitment examination, while the Minister's daughter had secured only 61.
The Court had subsequently ordered a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of political science teachers for Class X1 and XII in the state-run schools of West Bengal.
Coming down heavily on such an illegal appointment, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay ordered that the Minister's daughter namely Ankita Adhikari shall not be allowed to be treated as a teacher recommended by the West Bengal School Service Commission (SCC) and appointed by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education until further orders passed by the Court.
The Court further underscored that Adhikari or any other person on her behalf shall not be allowed to enter the concerned school premises and also restrained Adhikari from introducing herself as a teacher of the school recommended by the Commission until further orders.
"If any such report comes to this Court that she has introduced herself as a teacher of the school, the Court will take appropriate steps against her", the Court warned further.
The Court also noted that Adhikari had been appointed as the assistant teacher in the concerned school on November 24, 2018 and that she had worked in the concerned school for slightly less than 41 months or so. Accordingly, the Court ordered Adhikari to deposit the total salary received by her till date during her tenure with the Registrar General of the High Court in two instalments. The first instalment was ordered to be paid by June 7, 2022 and the second instalment was ordered to be paid by July 7, 2022.
It was further held that the post in which Adhikari had been appointed will now be treated as vacant and shall be earmarked for the petitioner Babita Sarkar who was actually supposed to be appointed as an assistant teacher if the 'extreme illegality' had not taken place. The District Inspector of Schools was also ordered to not pay any further salary to Adhikari until further orders of the Court.
During the proceedings, the Court was further apprised by the counsel appearing for Adhikari that an appeal has been preferred before a Division Bench of the High Court against the Court's earlier order directing the Minister to appear before the CBI for questioning. The matter is likely to be heard by a Vacation Bench next week.
A Division Bench of Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Rabindranath Samanta on Thursday had recused from hearing appeals preferred from Justice Gangopadhyay's order in this matter on personal ground.
Justice Gangopadhyay on Thursday had directed the Minister to appear before the CBI at 3pm for questioning despite vehement opposition from the Minister's counsel on the ground that the Minister was stationed at Cooch Bihar and would thus take time to appear before the office of the CBI. Thereafter, the Minister's counsel had apprised the Court that the Minister shall be unable to attend the CBI office at 3pm since he is in Cooch Bihar and is scheduled to land in Kolkata at 6:30 pm on Thursday evening.
Accordingly, Justice Gangopadhyay had directed the Police Commissioner of Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate to immediately get in touch with the airport authorities so that as soon as Adhikari comes out from the flight, he can be escorted by the police authorities to the CBI office at Nizam Palace directly.
The CBI on Thursday also registered an FIR against the Minister and his daughter under sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The matter is slated for further hearing on June 10 at 2pm.
Case Title: Babita Sarkar v. The State of West Bengal & Ors
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 196