SC stays Calcutta HC order for CBI probe into filing of plea by WBSSC in teachers recruitment scam
New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) In a relief to the state government, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Calcutta High Court order for a CBI investigation into the filing of an application by the West Bengal Central School Service Commission (SSC) in a case related to the teachers' recruitment scam.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli also stayed the direction of the single-judge bench of the high court summoning Principal Secretary, School Education Department, Manish Jain before it on Friday in relation to the filing of the fresh application by the West Bengal Central SSC.
“Issue notice, returnable in three weeks. Dasti, in addition, is permitted. Pending further orders, the orders of the Single Judge dated 23 November... and the order of the Division Bench dated 24 November 2022 shall remain stayed.
“No further consequential steps shall be taken in pursuance of the impugned orders of the Single Judge which have been affirmed by the Division Bench. The direction to the CBI to investigate at whose behest the interim application was filed before the Single Judge shall accordingly remain stayed,” the top court said in its order.
The CJI-led bench took up the appeal of the West Bengal government for hearing a little over an hour after it was mentioned for urgent listing by senior advocate A M Singhvi at 10.35 am.
"Presently, when I am arguing here, the principal secretary is in the dock before the high court," Singhvi said while underlining the enormity of the situation which arose as a consequence of the high court’s direction.
"On 23 November 2022, the Single Judge of the High Court held, prima facie, the application filed by the Commission is a ‘benami application’. The Single Judge proceeded to enquire of the counsel as to whether or not he has drafted the application,” the bench said while recording the submissions of the state government.
The senior lawyer said though a request was made by the counsel for the WBSSC before the high court to withdraw the application, it was declined. The high court said it will inquire into “who are pulling the strings from behind such application”, the senior lawyer said.
The single judge directed the CBI to commence an enquiry with regard to the source where the application originated.
“The proceedings were thereafter listed on 24 November 2022 at 10.30 am on which date the Principal Secretary to the Government of West Bengal was directed to appear personally to answer some of the questions which the Single Judge intended to address since ‘the filing of such an application is clearly not the brain child of the Commission’,” the order, noting the submissions of Singhvi, said.
He said the division bench of the high court also dismissed the intra-court appeal of the state government.
Singhvi said the senior official was summoned for 10.30 am on Friday and was currently in the dock there.
"There shall be a stay on the high court orders," the CJI observed orally.
On November 23, the high court had ordered the CBI probe into filing of a ‘benami application’ and had asked the central agency to investigate at whose behest the plea was filed by the SSC to secure the jobs of staff illegally recruited for state government-sponsored and aided educational institutions by creating extra posts.
The CBI is already probing illegal appointments in such schools on earlier orders of the high court.
The high court had directed the CBI to file a report within seven days as to the origin of the instruction or the decision for filing such an application.
"I further direct CBI to take immediate steps from today evening itself to start the investigation to know whose brainchild is this, i.e., saving the illegally appointed persons," the high court had said.
In the application, some submissions were made to pass an order by which the services of illegally appointed people could be retained by creating supernumerary posts without disturbing those who were hired genuinely against available vacancies, the high court had said.
It said an organised crime was committed in respect of appointment of school employees. PTI SJK DV SJK SK SK