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Seeks State Govt Reply On PIL Alleging Irregularities, Corruption In Primary Teachers’ Recruitment: In Calcutta High Court

The Calcutta High Court requested the state government’s response in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) complaint that was filed in 2014 alleging irregularities, illegalities, and corruption in the selection of assistant teachers for the state’s primary schools based on the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET).

The preliminary objection raised by the State in the case of Tapas Ghosh v. The State of West Bengal and others (WPA (P) 203 of 2022) on the grounds of delay in filing the PIL Plea is rejected by the Bench of Honorable Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Honorable Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj.

Facts of the case:

In essence, one Tapas Ghosh has filed the immediate PIL plea, alleging that no merit list or list of impaneled candidates was published following the publication of the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) 2014 Examination and that some candidates who did not even take part in the TET 2014 or did not pass it were appointed as primary teachers.

The PIL complaint also made reference to the public statement made by one of the lawmakers pointing out the TET panel’s irregularities as well as the complaint made against one of the ruling party’s MLAs for allegedly taking millions of rupees from job seekers with the promise of government jobs in schools.

The TET, 2014, purported to have selected 42,897 candidates to date, but no merit list of 42,897 candidates, revealing the numbers obtained in written and oral interviews, nor any reserved category-wise list, has ever been published by the Board, according to the additional allegation on file.

The petitioner also cited numerous additional inconsistencies and irregularities in his PIL plea.

The state government, on the other hand, argued that it was too late to accept the PIL plea because the case pertained to the recruitment of primary teachers, which occurred back in 2014.

Court’s Findings:

The Court began by pointing out that while individual candidates had already filed writ petitions highlighting appointment irregularities, the entire process was being contested in the current PIL.

The Court also took into consideration the petitioner’s supplemental affidavit, which stated that even in the years 2021 and 2022, appointments were still made based on the TET, 2014 results.

Given this, the Court believed that “there will be a serious question-mark on their appointment and on the issue of continuance in service” if the allegations in the PIL plea are proven to be true and it is determined that the Primary School Teachers were hired without having the necessary eligibility qualification.

“The issue is the appointment of primary teachers, and if individuals without the minimum requirements for eligibility and without merit are chosen, it will harm the interests of the nation’s primary school students, who are its future. Therefore, the claim made by the petitioner in the writ petition cannot be dismissed on the basis of a technical argument “As it dismissed the state’s objection to the PIL plea’s admission, the court added.

As a result, the State was given four weeks to submit an affidavit of merit in opposition, and the matter was scheduled for further hearing on August 16, 2022.

In connection with alleged irregularities in the hiring of teachers in state government-sponsored and aided primary schools, the Calcutta High Court last month removed Trinamool MLA Manik Bhattacharya from the position of Chairman of the Board of Primary Education with immediate effect.

A special investigation team of the CBI was to conduct a court-monitored investigation into the alleged illegal appointments of at least 269 primary teachers, according to an earlier order from Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay.

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Judgement Reviewed By Manju Molakalapalli.

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