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SSC scam | Calcutta High Court refuses to hear Minister’s plea seeking stay on Order to appear before CBI


Calcutta High Court.

Calcutta High Court. | Photo Credit: PTI

A division Bench of the Calcutta High Court on May 18 refused to hear an appeal of West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee challenging an Order of a single Bench that directed him to appear before the CBI in connection with the School Service Commission's (SSC) appointments scam.

The single Bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay directed Mr. Chatterjee, who was the State Education Minister when the alleged appointments were made, to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation at its office here before 6 p.m. on Wednesday. He is now the Industry, Commerce and Parliamentary Affairs Minister of the Mamata Banerjee Cabinet.

Mr. Chatterjee's lawyer moved the division Bench presided by Justice Harish Tandon seeking a stay on the single Bench order that directed the Minister to appear before the CBI.

The division Bench refused to hear the plea, saying that since the appeal has not been affirmed or filed in the registry of the court, it cannot hear the prayer.

Earlier in the day, another division Bench of the High Court upheld orders of a single Bench that had directed the CBI to inquire into alleged illegal appointments given by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education on recommendations by the SSC.

Immediately after the division Bench Order, Justice Gangopadhyay directed Chatterjee to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation at its office in Kolkata before 6 p.m. of Wednesday in connection with the SSC appointments scam. The judge said he expects Mr. Chatterjee to step down as Minister in the interest of justice.

Terming “irregularities” in recommending appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff by SSC as a “public scam”, the division Bench, comprising justices Subrata Talukder and A. K. Mukherjee, said that the single Bench of Justice Gangopadhyay was not wrong in ordering a probe into the alleged money trail involved. The division Bench said the Orders of the single Bench require no intervention.

Holding that a five-member committee to oversee the appointment process for a 2016 panel for recruitment of teachers for Classes IX and X and group C and D staff in government-aided schools was illegal, the single Bench had ordered then State Education Minister to appear before the CBI.

Earlier, the Minister was directed by Justice Gangopadhyay to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation at its office in Nizam Palace in Lucknow on April 12, but he got a stay from a division Bench on the Order. Seven Orders were passed by the single Bench directing the CBI to enquire into the alleged irregularities in the appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff. Of these, one was in group C, two in group D appointments and four in teachers’ recruitment for Classes IX and X.

All these Orders had earlier been stayed by the division Bench on a series of appeals. Passing judgment on the appeals, the division Bench accepted recommendations of Justice R. K. Bag committee, instituted by the court earlier calling for prosecution of the then senior officials connected to the scam.


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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 3:07:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ssc-scam-calcutta-high-court-refuses-to-hear-ministers-plea-seeking-stay-on-order-to-appear-before-cbi/article65426242.ece