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Calcutta High Court lifts interim stay on West Bengal govt’s primary teacher recruitment

The Advocate General raised certain points as to giving personal hearing to all the representation making candidates, because there might be thousands of representations before the Commission.

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The Calcutta High Court has lifted its interim stay imposed on West Bengal government’s primary school teacher recruitment drive. Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay passed this order while disposing of a petition filed by Abhijit Ghosh alleging irregularities in marking and the selection process in teacher recruitment for upper primary schools.

On Friday, Senior Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya wanted to file a supplementary affidavit showing some discrepancies, submitting that again some illegalities have been committed by the West Bengal Central School Service Commission (WBCSSC) in the list published on July 8, 2021.

“I am not accepting such supplementary affidavits. I am satisfied as to the action of the Commission that the Commission by seven days, i.e., the time granted to it, has published the new list with the break-up of marks and with the reasons for not bringing a candidate in the interview list. There may be different types of grievances of the persons who have not been named in the interview list,” the Court said.

For taking care of the grievances of the candidates whose names have not been included in the interview list, the Court directed the Commission to make an arrangement for giving a personal hearing to candidates who would file a representation individually (not jointly with others).

“The representation containing the grievance/grievances has to be filed within a period of two weeks from date either through e-mail or by filing a hardcopy in the office of the West Bengal Central School Service Commission. If such hardcopy is sent by post, it must be by speed post or by registered post with acknowledgement due for which the track record of India Post is to be collected and kept by the candidate,” the Court order.

The Judge further directed that after receiving such representation the Commission will take steps for giving personal hearing to the aggrieved persons individually by officers of the Commission not below the rank of Secretary of the Commission. “For this purpose, the Government of West Bengal may engage experienced officers (eligible to be appointed as Secretary of the Commission) in the rank of Secretary of the Commission for hearing the representations, and for passing a reasoned order thereon.”

The Advocate General raised certain points as to giving personal hearing to all the representation making candidates, because there might be thousands of representations before the Commission. But the High Court said that unless an opportunity of face to face interaction is granted to the candidates with the Officer of the Commission, the grievances of the aggrieved persons may not evaporate.

The Court is of the view that if personal hearing is not given grievance would always be there that the order against the representation had been passed mechanically and without application of mind. To avoid such feelings of the candidates, the Court has directed the Commission to give the personal hearing. After such hearing is given the Commission will communicate the decision by speed post or by registered post with acknowledgement due to the representation-filing candidates. The entire exercise including sending of orders of the Commission to such candidates should be completed by 12 weeks from the date of receipt of the individual representations.

“Now there is no such restraining order on the Commission and the Commission is free and expected to take steps immediately so that recommendations can be made by the Commission to the interview-listed candidates,” the Court held.

The Judge also requested to the Government of West Bengal and also to the West Bengal Central School Service Commission to consider whether in the next selection test for the Assistant Teachers in Upper Primary Section age relaxation of 5 years can be given to all the candidates who participated in the first State Level Selection Test which was initiated in 2016. In the meantime five years have passed. A large number of candidates may not get any further opportunity to appear in the next selection test for the posts of Assistant Teachers in the Upper Primary Schools if the age relaxation is not given to them.

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The Court hopes that the State Government and the West Bengal Central School Service Commission will consider this aspect of this matter carefully and will take an appropriate decision in this regard.”

“It is expected that the persons, who knows it better than anybody else that they are not qualified in the first State Level Selection Test, 2016 would not approach the Commission with a representation for hearing their grievances and if that be so and the Commission finds that a representation has been made by a candidate for taking a chance and the Commission is satisfied in this regard, the Commission is granted liberty, in such cases only, to impose costs upon him and realize it as arrears of land revenue from such candidates,” the order reads in conclusion.

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