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

As many as 25,753 appointees are set to lose their jobs and will be asked to return their salaries along with 12% interest.


In a big setback to the 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 will be asked to return their salaries along with 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 court has made an exception in its order, ensuring that one of the appointees, Soma Das who is undergoing cancer treatment, retains her job on humanitarian grounds.

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.

Read | BJP's "Aunt-Nephew" Dig At Mamata Banerjee As Court Sacks 25,000 Teachers

WBSSC chairman Siddharth Majumder has said they will challenge the high court order in the Supreme Court.

Several Trinamool leaders, including former education minister Partha Chatterjee, and former officials are in jail in connection with the teacher recruitment case.

Reacting to the order, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said BJP leaders are "influencing the judiciary and the judgments".

Referring to BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari's prediction last week of a political "explosion", she said, "He predicted an explosion. What is the explosion? Snatching the jobs of 26,000 people and pushing them towards death. How did they know what the court will rule if they did not write the judgment?"

BJP Bengal too targeted the Trinamool government and said Ms Banerjee and her no. 2 in the party, her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, are set to face defeat.

"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 deserving candidates. Now it's time for the nephew and his aunt to go. #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 last year dismissed panels set up by the WBSCC in 2016 and cancelled the appointment of 36,000 untrained primary teachers. The figure was later modified to 32,000.

Abhijit Ganguly, the judge who had also ordered a CBI probe in the case, resigned after several run-ins with the ruling Trinamool and is now a BJP candidate in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

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

The Supreme Court last November requested the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to form a division bench to hear petitions and appeals in the recruitment case and gave six-month protection to those whose appointments were cancelled.