SSC appointments: HC stays CBI probe order for 3 wks
Times of India | 25 November 2021
Kolkata: Calcutta High Court has stayed for three weeks the single-bench order directing CBI to inquire into the alleged “illegal and irregular” appointments of 25 Group-D staff under West Bengal Board of Secondary Education based on “recommendations” of West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC).
A division bench of justices Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samanta stayed the impugned order, stating that no CBI inquiry would be held in the meantime into the alleged appointments scam. The bench observed that the petitioners in their prayer didn’t ask for investigation but wanted filling up of vacancies. The bench also noted that state agencies were not opposed to holding an investigation.
The division bench directed the two state agencies — West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and West Bengal School Service Commission — to submit all records and documents related to the case to the HC registrar general on Wednesday. It wanted the state agencies to hand over the documents on the instant so that they could not be tampered with or destroyed.
Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had ordered the state agencies to hand over documents and records to CBI.
All three stakeholders — the state, SSC and West Bengal board — had moved the division bench against the single-bench order of Tuesday. The division bench, after staying the CBI inquiry, observed that it would take up the petition for hearing on November 29.
Challenging the single-bench order, advocate general S N Mookherjee on Wednesday argued that a CBI inquiry could be ordered only in the rarest of rare cases, particularly when the state police had failed to do a fair job. He pointed out that there was no allegation against the state police in the present case. “The single bench superseded the jurisdiction of police,” Mookherjee added.
The single bench had observed that it was giving the responsibility to CBI “without showing any disrespect to the state police”. “I am passing the order only for the reason that both the authorities, the Commission and the Board, as also the police authority are controlled by the state,” the single bench had held.
The advocate general told the division bench that the state was not against an investigation. Mookherjee recalled that the state lawyer, during his submission on November 17, had urged for a probe into the alleged scam under a retired HC judge. “So we are not against investigation. But a CBI inquiry is not necessary in this case,” he said.
SSC counsel Kishore Dutta argued that the preliminary probe could be done by a senior officer of the state education department.