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WB govt moves SC against HC order cancelling appointment of over 25K teachers, non-teaching staff

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NEW DELHI, April 24: The West Bengal government has moved the Supreme Court against the Calcutta High Court order invalidating the appointment of 25,753  teachers and non-teaching staff made by the state’s School Service Commission (SSC) in state-run and state-aided schools.

Challenging the high court order, the state government, in its appeal filed before the top court, said the HC cancelled the appointments “arbitrarily”.

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“The high court failed to appreciate the ramification of cancelling the entire selection process leading to straightaway termination of teaching and non-teaching staff from service with immediate effect, without giving sufficient time to the petitioner state to deal with such an exigency, rendering the education system at a stand-still,” the plea said.

The Calcutta High Court had on Monday declared the selection process as “null and void” and directed the CBI to probe the appointment process. It had also asked the central agency to submit a report within three months.

The high court said those appointed outside the officially available 24,640 vacancies, appointed after the expiry of the official date of recruitment, and those who submitted blank Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets but obtained appointment to return all remunerations and benefits received by them with 12 per cent interest per annum within four weeks.

Observing that it has given “anxious consideration to the passionate plea” that persons who had obtained the appointments legally would be prejudiced if the entire selection process is cancelled, the bench said it hardly had any choice left.

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The high court held that all appointments involved were violative of Articles 14 (equality before law) and 16 (prohibiting discrimination in employment in any government office) of the Constitution.

“It is shocking that, at the level of the cabinet of the State Government, a decision is taken to protect employment obtained fraudulently in a selection process conducted by SSC for state-funded schools, knowing fully well that, such appointments were obtained beyond the panel and after expiry of the panel, at the bare minimum,” the high court had said.

It said unless “there is a deep connection between the persons perpetuating the fraud and the beneficiaries” with persons involved in the decision-making process, such action to create supernumerary posts to protect illegal appointments is “inconceivable”.

The division bench had also rejected a prayer by some appellants, including the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC), for a stay on the order and asked the commission to initiate a fresh appointment process within a fortnight from the date of the results of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

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The bench, constituted by the Chief Justice of the high court on a direction of the Supreme Court, had heard 350 petitions and appeals relating to the selection of candidates for appointment by the SSC in the categories of teachers of classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 and group-C and D staffers through the SLST-2016.

In its 282-page judgment, the high court had said retaining appointees selected through “such a dubious process” would be contrary to public interest. (PTI)







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