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Kolkata school tried to bribe court-appointed special officer: Calcutta HC

September 21, 2023
Mita Mukherjee

A single bench of Justice Biswajit Basu of Calcutta high Court on Thursday expressed displeasure after hearing that an official of St Augustine’s Day School, Kolkata had tried to influence a special officer of the court by offering him bribe when he visited the school to conduct an inspection as asked by the court.

The court had appointed deputy solicitor general, Billwadal Bhattacharya to visit the school and check the school records to ascertain the total number of bona fide students who would be appearing in the board examinations in 2024.

When the matter came for hearing again on Thursday, Bhattacharya told the court that before his visit to the school someone had called him from the institution and offered him a bribe.

“I cannot deny that there was an attempt to bribe the special officer also….forgetting the fact that lawyers are not always up for sale…. I have taken the screen shot of the phone number and call details…. That’s why I have not taken a drop of water….. though I was in the school from 4.40 pm to 9 pm… Bhattacharya told the court.

On hearing this, the court said that this showed that the school was trying to hide something and asked Bhattacharjee to submit the details of the call number in sealed cover. The court said the school will have to bear the consequences and appropriate actions will be taken by the court.

On hearing the submission of Billwadal Bhattacharjee on Thursday, Justice Basu immediately informed senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who had been recently engaged in the case by the school, how his client had tried to bribe the court appointed special officer and asked him what was his opinion in this regard.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya immediately withdrew from the case saying that he would not work for ‘’ ‘such clients’’.

Justice Basu reiterated that the primary concern of the court at this stage would be to make the suitable arrangements to enable all the affected students to appear in the board examinations in 2024.

The advocate appearing for the ICSE council submitted before the court that the board will go a step ahead to ensure that all the bone fide students are able to write the board exams next year.

A single bench of Justice Biswajit Basu of Calcutta High Court last week had reprimanded the authorities of the school for not informing parents that the ICSE council had deactivated the school affiliation and it had described the act as a “criminal offence”.

 A group of parents of the St Augustine’s Day School had staged a protest in front of the institution on September 7 after they came to know that the school had lost its affiliation and nearly 237 students studying in Classes X and XII may not be able to sit for the board exams next year. The agitating parents were also seen thrashing the school principal when he tried to enter the school premises on the day of the agitation.

The court had directed the principal and all the members of the school managing committee to appear before the court today.

The parents of 71 students had approached the court alleging that they had not been informed by the school that the Council for the Indian Certificate School Examinations which affiliates the school had suspended the affiliation. The parents had also not been told their wards, now in Class X had not been registered with the council for  appearing in ICSE (Class X) board exam in 2024.

Also read: Calcutta High Court orders Kolkata school to file FIR for misleading parents

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