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Published 18:18 IST, May 7th 2024

SC Pauses Calcutta HC Order Cancelling 24,000 Bengal Jobs, Clears CBI Probe

The Supreme Court on Tuesday paused the Calcutta High Court order cancelling 24,000 Bengal jobs.

Reported by: Isha Bhandari
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SC पहुंची बंगाल सरकार | Image: PTI
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New Delhi: In a pivotal ruling on Tuesday, the Supreme Court intervened to stay the April 22 decision by the Calcutta High Court, which had revoked the appointments of 25,753 teachers and non-teaching personnel in West Bengal's government-aided schools. While allowing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to persist with its investigation into the alleged improprieties surrounding the appointments, the Supreme Court expressly prohibited the agency from taking any coercive actions against the candidates or government officials. 

Earlier, a Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, delivered tough remarks directed at the West Bengal government regarding the contentious issue of approximately 25,000 appointments made by the state school service commission. The Chief Justice, along with other senior advocates, scrutinized the actions of the government and questioned the legality and integrity of the appointment process.

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During the hearing, Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, representing the Bengal government, faced a barrage of questions from the bench regarding the creation of supernumerary posts and the hiring of waitlisted candidates amidst ongoing legal challenges to the selection process. 

“Why did the West Bengal government created supernumerary posts and hired waitlisted candidates when the selection process itself had been challenged in court,” the bench questioned. 

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The Chief Justice, expressing concern, highlighted the breach of security protocols and the failure to maintain crucial data related to the appointments.

Senior Advocates Jaideep Gupta and Sanjay Hegde, representing the school service commission, faced similar scrutiny from the bench, with the Chief Justice raising doubts about the fairness of the commission's actions and the validity of the appointments. The bench expressed apprehension about the impact of the cancellations on individuals who were not involved in any irregularities.

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As the hearing progressed, Senior Advocate Madhavi Divan, representing the Centre, emphasized the need for a segregation between tainted and untainted candidates to salvage the reputation of the commission. However, concerns were raised about the basis for such segregation and the overall integrity of the appointment process.

In response to various arguments and representations, the Chief Justice emphasized the gravity of the situation, stressing that public faith in the appointment system was at stake. The bench reiterated the need for a thorough examination of the matter and announced plans to issue notices for further hearings in July.

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The Supreme Court's stern stance comes in the wake of the Calcutta High Court's order to cancel the appointments, citing violations of constitutional principles. 

17:53 IST, May 7th 2024