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Calcutta High Court rejects West Bengal government plea against CBI probe into school jobs-for-cash scam

The High Court of Calcutta has dismissed an application filed by the West Bengal government, which challenged the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the school jobs-for-cash scam of 2022.

The order was passed by the Division Bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakroborty and Justice Partha Sarthi Chatterjee on Thursday.

Noting that the scam was of extraordinary dimension, the High Court observed that the money trail and exchange of monetary considerations for giving appointments had extended to the selection process of education as well as municipality. 

It said the instances of corruption, wherein government jobs were given out in exchange of monetary compensation, were one of the reasons behind ‘widespread dejection’ and ‘disillusionment’ among the masses. 

The High Court further observed that allegations in the case were neither skirmishes nor bald, but spoke of overt acts indicating ‘complicity’ among the Ministers and highly-placed government officials.

The Division Bench further said that such investigation could not be scuttled on a purported plea saying that the trial court had no jurisdiction to direct CBI investigation in the recruitment of municipality since it was having determination over Group-II matters.

As per the High Court, the wide language of Article 226 of the Constitution had conferred upon the High Courts, ample power to reach injustice wherever found.

The Division Bench noted that overly technical arguments of procedural incongruity must be cast aside, and that a reticent approach by the court for the purpose of satisfying every subtlety of interpretation ought to be discouraged.

It said the menace of corruption has accorded the undeserved with an unfair advantage over the deserved and deepened the societal chasm between haves and have-nots. The Division Bench said the perpetrators could only be brought to justice through an uninterrupted and conclusive investigation into the connected schemes of corruption.

The petitioners had contended before the High Court that a recruitment scam was going on in the state municipality, in which unqualified persons were being given government jobs without following the due processes. The petitioners further alleged that teachers were also being hired in a similar fashion in government schools in West Bengal. 

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