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Cal HC stays single-judge order for CBI enquiry into Group-D appointments at schools

Cal HC stays single-judge order for CBI enquiry into Group-D appointments at schools

November 25, 2021

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday granted an interim stay on a CBI enquiry ordered by a single bench into alleged irregularities in appointments of Group-D workers in aided and sponsored schools by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE).

It directed the WBBSE and the state’s School Service Commission to submit in sealed covers documents related to the appointments to the Registrar General of the high court by the end of court hours.

A division bench comprising justices Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samanta stayed the single-bench order for three weeks on an appeal by the West Bengal government.

During the hearing, Justice Tandon said it appears that the commission is at the centre of the controversy.

Appearing for the state, Advocate General S N Mookherjee submitted that a CBI enquiry can be ordered in extremely rare cases, and where there is allegation against the state police of failing to hold a fair investigation.

He claimed there is no allegation against the state police and that there has not yet been any probe by it so far in the matter.

Mookherjee also said during the hearing before the single bench, the state’s lawyer had proposed setting up of a probe by a retired judge or judges of the high court.

The matter will come up for hearing again on Monday.

Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had earlier in the week ordered the CBI to hold an enquiry into alleged irregularities during appointment of Group-D staff in aided and sponsored schools under WBBSE on purported recommendations by the state’s School Service Commission (SSC).

The single bench said the enquiry would also find out if any money trail was involved.

The WBBSE had claimed before the court that all the appointments were given on the basis of recommendations by the SSC.

The commission, however, submitted an affidavit stating that after May 4, 2019, when the panel of Group D staff had expired, no recommendation was issued by any of its regions.

The single bench had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director to constitute a committee, headed by an officer not below the rank of a joint director, to initiate the enquiry.

“Without showing any disrespect to the police force of this state, I am passing this order giving the responsibility to the CBI only for the reason that both the authorities, the commission and the board, as also the police authority are controlled by the state,” Justice Gangopadhyay said in his order.

He had directed the CBI to file a preliminary report before it on December 21, following which further orders were to be passed.

Some job aspirants filed a petition before the court claiming that appointments were given to persons after the expiry of the panel of Group-D staff in aided and sponsored schools, and had produced a list of such appointees before the court.

Justice Gangopadhyay had directed that the list of alleged illegally appointed persons and copies of all affidavits used in this matter, including the writ application, be handed over to the advocate of the CBI at 3 pm on Wednesday.

Also Read: West Bengal: Reckless revisionism

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