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Court blow to hill teachers

Calcutta, Aug. 27: Calcutta High Court today said the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council has no legal right to appoint teachers to state-aided schools in the three hills sub-divisions and directed the council to sack within a month at least 300 ad hoc teachers it had recruited.

Handing down the ruling, Justice Barin Ghosh asked the School Service Commission to appoint its empanelled teachers, ending a five-year impasse over appointment of teachers who had cleared the SSC tests.

The court passed the judgment in response to a petition filed by 68 candidates selected by the SSC, but denied appointment by the DGHC.

The ruling came two weeks after the state government announced its decision to hand over control of the SSCís hill functions to the DGHC, headed by Subash Ghisingh of the Gorkha National Liberation Front.

Municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya said in Darjeeling on August 10 that the government would soon enact a law to make the handover possible.

He said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had okayed the handover after Ghisingh agreed to appoint the teachers empanelled by the SSC.

Justice Ghosh said the DGHC and the state government could not make any agreement contrary to the state municipal law. He said the DGHC, too, had no right to compel the government-aided schools to act in contravention of the law.

The court also asked the government to immediately stop providing aid to the schools that had not followed SSC rules while appointing teachers.

Ekramul Bari, the lawyer for the petitioners, had told the court that DGHC had not allowed the SSC to appoint the empanelled teachers in the schools of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong sub divisions.

Showcause on judge

In another case, the high court issued a showcause notice to a sessions judge for acquitting a person of charges of rape though he had deserted a woman after cohabiting with her by giving false assurances of marriage.

Justice D.P. Sengupta served the notice on the Murshidabad sessions judge K.K. Prasad, asking why a criminal case cannot not be initiated against the accused whom he had acquitted.

Margia Khatoon of Patikabari village in Murshidabad lodged a complaint with the police in April 1997 that one Idris Mondal had stayed with her for several months after giving false assurances of marriage.

However, when Khatoon got pregnant and demanded that he marry her, Idris denied the relationship and absconded. Police initiated a case against Idris and the sessions judge acquitted him.

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