Big Blow To Trinamool, 25,000 Bengal Teachers Fired, Told To Return Salary

In a big setback to Mamata Banerjee government, the Calcutta High Court has cancelled the 2016 recruitment process for government-sponsored and aided schools. As many as 25,753 appointees are set to lose their jobs and return the salaries they have withdrawn since joining with a 12% interest, according to the order.

A division bench of Justices Debangsu Basak and Md Shabbar Rashidi said the school teachers recruited illegally after submitting blank OMR sheets must return their salaries within four weeks. District magistrates have been tasked with collecting the money from these teachers.

The bench, formed on a Supreme Court direction, has also ordered the CBI to further probe the appointment process and submit a report within three months. It has also asked the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) to begin a fresh appointment process.

The state government is likely to challenge the order in the Supreme Court. Several Trinamool leaders, including former state minister Partha Chatterjee, and former officials are in jail in connection with the teacher recruitment case.

BJP Bengal targeted the Trinamool government over the court order and said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her no. 2 in the party, her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, will be defeated.

“The High Court has cancelled about 24,000 SSC recruitments from 2016, CBI can take anyone into custody. A smile has appeared on the faces of the worthy. This time, the nephew and his aunt will be defeated. #TMCExposed,” said BJP Bengal.

Over 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the State Level Selection Test-2016 for 24,640 vacant posts while 25,753 appointment letters were issued against the vacancies, according to the lawyer for some of the petitioners. This included posts of teachers of classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 and group-C and D staffers.

The Calcutta High Court had last year dismissed panels set up by the WBSCC in 2016 and the cancelled appointment of 36,000 untrained primary teachers. The figure was later modified to 32,000.

Abhijit Ganguly, the judge who had passed the order, resigned after several run-ins with the ruling Trinamool and is now a BJP candidate from Tamluk in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Days later after the initial judgment, another single-judge bench had paused it until further orders.

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