Calcutta HC division bench recuses from hearing SSC recruitment scam case – The Indian Express

Kolkata News

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday recused itself from hearing a batch of petitions on alleged irregularities in the appointment of non-teaching staff by the the School Service Commission (SSC) in government-aided secondary and higher secondary schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE).

The bench comprising Justices Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samantar was scheduled to hear 10 cases of SSC recruitments on Monday.

Citing “personal grounds”, Justice Tandon, in an open court, said on behalf of the bench that they were no longer hearing the cases pertaining to the alleged scam.

The state government had constituted an advisory committee for the appointments.

Earlier, the single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had directed the CBI to probe the case and to question WBSSC former adviser Shantiprasad Sinha and four other members over the irregularities in the appointments. While Sinha faced CBI questioning, the others moved the division bench challenging the single bench directive.

Interestingly, the single-judge bench of Justice Gangopadhyay had recorded taken a strong exception to the orders of the division bench of Justices Tandon and Samantar. Justice Gangopadhyay had ordered Sinha to file an affidavit in the court on the details of his assets.

Sinha had then moved the division bench against the single-judge bench’s order. Though the division bench upheld the single-judge bench order it directed Sinha to file the affidavit in a sealed envelope.

Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay expressed his displeasure over the observation, saying his bench’s hands had been tied. “This is — am sorry to say — highest degree of double standard expressed by the appeal court for the reason known to it. But to maintain judicial discipline, I have to accept such an order (sic),” he had observed.

On April 1, another division bench of Justices Soumen Sen and Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee stayed the single bench’s order for a CBI probe till Monday, till the bench of Justices Tandon and Samanta, which had been hearing the matter, took it up.

In 2016, the state government had recommended the appointment of nearly 13,000 non-teaching staff in different government-aided schools, following which the WBSSC conducted examinations and interviews. There have been allegations that the SSC made nearly 500 irregular recruitments.