Teacher Recruitment Scam: HC Cancels Appointments In WB Govt Schools; 26K Jobs Lost

Calling it as 'null and void', the division bench, comprising justices Debangsu Basak and Md Shabbar Rashidi, ruled in its verdict that the board must conduct a fresh recruitment process
Teacher Recruitment Scam: HC Cancels Appointments In WB Govt Schools; 26K Jobs Lost
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The Calcutta High Court cancelled on Monday all appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff made through the 2016 state-level test in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided secondary and higher secondary schools. The order meant the cancellation of 25,753 jobs.

Calling the appointments as “null and void”, the division bench of Justice Debangsu Basak and Justice Md Shabbar Rashidi ruled that a fresh recruitment process must be conducted. The court also said individuals who were appointed after the expiry of the 2016 School Service Commission (SSC) panel will have to repay their salary with a yearly interest rate of 12% within four weeks to district authorities. Soma Das, a cancer patient, will be exempt on humanitarian grounds and will keep her job.

Bengal’s School Service Commissioner said they will move Supreme Court challenging the high court order.

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Teacher Recruitment Scam: HC Cancels Appointments In WB Govt Schools; 26K Jobs Lost

The 281-page order is being seen as an embarrassment for the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) party in the election season. Over 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the 2016 State-Level Selection Test (SLST) for 24,640 vacant posts. Following the entrance test, there were widespread allegations of corruption. A large section of unsuccessful candidates launched a stir, saying several of the selected candidates bribed their way to the government jobs. A former state minister and several of TMC functionaries have been arrested in the probe that followed.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to hit out at the TMC government after the court ruling. “The Calcutta High Court’s judgment on the SSC recruitment scam in West Bengal is massive. Approx 25,735 jobs (Group C, Group D, Secondary and Senior Secondary) have been declared null and void,” BJP leader Amit Malviya posted on X, accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s government of corruption.

“Chief Ministers for similar scams, much smaller in size, have gone to jail. This is undoubtedly the biggest Govt sponsored recruitment scam. Lives of millions of Youth have been ruined,” he posted.

In Monday’s order, the Calcutta HC bench also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct further investigation into the appointment process and submit a report within three months. According to the website of leading Bengali daily Anandabazaar Partrika, the court directed authorities to upload answer sheets of the SSC recruitment test on their website in order to ensure transparency.

The Calcutta High Court had directed CBI to take charge of the investigation in November 2021. The West Bengal government, at that time, challenged the order before a division bench, which was rejected by the court.

Subsequently, CBI carried out their investigation process from 2022, during which they raided several places in West Bengal. In a related investigation, former state education minister and TMC leader Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in July 2022. The ED found Rs 21 crore cash following raids at his house.

Source: News18

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