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School Job: Calcutta HC Cancels 25,753 Appointments made in 2016, Orders Fresh Recruitment Process

Kolkata: In a major blow to the Mamata Banerjee-led government, the division bench of the Calcutta High Court, comprising Justice Debangsu Basak and Justice Shabbar Rashidi, announced its verdict on Monday, invalidating all appointments made by the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) in 2016.

The ruling nullifies a total of 25,753 appointments across various teaching and non-teaching categories, including secondary and higher secondary teachers, as well as Group-C and Group-D staff.

In addition to rescinding the appointments, the bench mandated that individuals appointed from the expired panels must refund their entire salary within four weeks, along with an annualized interest rate of 12 per cent.

Furthermore, the division bench directed the WBSSC to initiate a fresh recruitment process, signaling a comprehensive overhaul of the appointment procedure. Concurrently, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was instructed to continue its investigation into the matter, with the authority to detain any individuals deemed necessary for interrogation.

The court also scrutinized the state cabinet’s decision to create super-numeric posts, suspecting ulterior motives behind the move. Consequently, the CBI has been granted permission to probe individuals associated with the creation of these posts, suspected to have facilitated the illegal recruitment of ineligible candidates.

However, an exception was made for one candidate, Soma Das, on humanitarian grounds due to her battle with cancer. Her recruitment will remain unaffected amidst the broader cancellations.

Additionally, the division bench ordered the WBSSC to publicly disclose all optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets on its website, ensuring transparency and accessibility to the general public.

The division bench, presided over by Justice Basak and Justice Rashidi, was established to address cases related to the multi-crore cash-for-school job scandal in West Bengal, pursuant to a directive from the Supreme Court. Despite concluding hearings on March 20, the bench reserved its verdict, with Justice Basak remarking on the flawed nature of the recruitment process and the need to rectify excess appointments beyond vacant positions.

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