West Bengal recruitment scam: Supreme Court provides relief to over 23,000 teachers

Bench says scrapping all the recruitments would be unwise and valid appointments should be segregated from the illegal ones

May 07, 2024 10:54 pm | Updated May 08, 2024 08:32 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Calcutta High Court on April 22, 2024 terminated 23,123 teaching and non-teaching staffers. File

The Calcutta High Court on April 22, 2024 terminated 23,123 teaching and non-teaching staffers. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court on May 7 gave relief to the West Bengal government by protecting nearly 24,000 teaching and non-teaching staff members from immediate termination from their jobs in schools across the State.

A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing a petition filed by the State government against a Calcutta High Court order to terminate 23,123 teaching and non-teaching staffers en bloc.

The High Court had invalidated all the appointments, whether tainted or not, in an order on April 22.

The recruitments, made in 2016 by the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC), were linked to the cash-for-school jobs recruitment “scam”.

The SSC had held the selection process in 2016 for assistant teachers for classes nine to 12 and non-teaching staff.

The State government had argued in the apex court that the immediate removal of such a large population of teachers would drastically affect students and put school education in the State in a quandary, that too, at the beginning of the new academic year. The education system itself may come to a standstill, the State apprehended.

On May 7, the Bench agreed that scrapping all the recruitments would be unwise. The court said valid appointments should be segregated from the illegal ones.

The State had argued that even the CBI report had alleged irregularities in the recruitment of only a little over 4,000 appointments. Neither the SSC nor the CBI had ever indicated that the entire recruitment process was tainted.

Meanwhile, the Bench allowed the CBI to continue to investigate officials involved in the recruitments but precluded it from taking any coercive steps against them.

The court listed the case for July 16.

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