Calcutta High Court judge takes exception to division bench order: ‘No reason… this court’s observation diluted…’ – The Indian Express

Kolkata News

A Calcutta High Court judge on Wednesday took an exception to the observations made by a division bench regarding alleged irregularities in the appointment of ‘Group-D’ (non-teaching) staff in aided secondary and higher secondary schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE).

The appointments were made by the board purportedly on the recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission.

Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay opposed the division bench’s direction that the records of assets in the case should be submitted in a sealed cover. “I do not know what this court will do with a sealed cover in this proceeding when the hand of this appeal court has been tied by the above observation (sic),” Justice Gangopadhyay said.

The high court had earlier ordered former School Service Commission chief adviser SP Sinha and the convenor of a five-member committee constituted by the Education Department to disclose details of his assets in an affidavit after suspecting corruption during staff recruitment in schools by the SSC in recent years.

Seeking a stay, an appeal was filed against this order before a division bench comprising Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Rabindranath Samanta.

Justice Gangopadhyay questioned as why observations made by him in the order March 25 was declared as “tentative” by the division bench.

“How this declaration is made and why, is not known. There is no reason. Thus, this court’s observation has been diluted,” Gangopadhyay said, adding that his findings on illegal appointments were held by the division bench as “perceived notion” even as illegal appointments were hard facts.

“Why such diluting word ‘notion’ has been used, I do not know? The said appeal court has also taken into account the “thought process” behind the direction passed to file affidavit of assets. I do not know how the “thought process” of this judge can be known. Is this a comment on adjudication or something else, I do not know,” read Gangopadhyay’s order.

Expressing serious concern, Gangopadhyay said while the appeal court held that it does not find any element warranting interference at this stage but the appeal court interfered in the order after holding that there was “no element warranting interference”.

“The division bench held that the affidavit of assets shall remain in a sealed cover and shall not be divulged or circulated to the litigating parties or their counsels. That shall be appropriately dealt with at the time of the final decision. I have been prevented from going through the affidavit of assets. It is also beyond my understanding as how at the time of the final decision the sealed cover would be appropriately dealt with as far as dealing with the said sealed cover was required to be taken for adjudication by the single bench,” the order further read.

The division bench had fixed a course of action for him to follow, said Justice Gangopadhyay, adjourning the matter for some days.