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Big Blow For Mamata, Calcutta HC Nullifies 2016 Recruitment Process, Effectively Dismissing 2500+ School Teachers


In a body blow to the Mamta Banerjee government in West Bengal, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday (24.04.2024) nullified the process of State Level Selection Test-2016 (SLST) for recruitment of teachers in state government-sponsored and aided schools, and ordered cancellation of all 25,000+ appointments made through it.

The bench comprising justices Debangsu Basak and Md Shabbar Rashidi, constituted by the Chief Justice of the high court on directions of the Supreme Court, also ordered that all teachers who were recruited illegally (blank Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets) to return their salaries drawn thus far within six weeks.

It had heard numerous 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. Hearing in the matters concluded on March 20 and judgement was reserved by the bench.

Over 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the SLST-2016 for 24,640 vacant posts. A total of 25,753 appointment letters were issued against the vacancies.

The bench further directed the West Bengal School Service Commission to initiate a fresh appointment process, as well as CBI to further investigate the appointment process and submit a report in three months.

Earlier, on writ petitions by some candidates who appeared in SLST-2016, but did not get jobs, a single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had ordered a CBI investigation into alleged irregularities in the recruitment process.

The high court had also ordered termination of appointments of a number of teaching and non-teaching staff after finding irregularities.

Disposing of petitions before it in connection with the matters, the Supreme Court had on November 9, 2023, requested the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court to constitute a division bench to hear all the petitions and appeals pertaining to the recruitment process through SLST-2016 for early adjudication.

The apex court had in its order accorded protection to the appointees, whose appointments were quashed by the high court, for a period of six months to enable the division bench to adjudicate on the disputes.

The CBI had completed the investigation into the matters and submitted a report before the high court in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court to do so within two months from the date of its order.

The central probe agency has arrested former state education minister Partha Chatterjee and some functionaries of the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC).

Following the high court verdict today hundreds of school job aspirants, including petitioners, rejoiced outside the court premises.

Big Blow For Mamata, Calcutta HC Nullifies 2016 Recruitment Process, Effectively Dismissing 2500+ School Teachers, Lifeinchd
Mamata Banerjee

Reacting to the verdict, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is already feeling the heat of the Sandeshkhali episodes involving sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing, called it “illegal” and alleged that BJP leaders have been influencing the judiciary and judgments.

“We will stand by those who lost jobs,” she asserted, promising them that the Trinamool government will challenge the Calcutta high court order in the Apex Court.

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