The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Contempt rap for 13 in teacher bar case

Calcutta High Court has slapped contempt notices on 13 teachers of a school on the city’s southern fringes for allegedly tampering with evidence and suppressing facts to prevent a lawfully-appointed teacher from joining duty in 1997.

Metro had reported last year how Utpal Chakraborty had got his appointment letter in November 1997, but was not allowed to join till the court directed the authorities of Rani Kaltikuri High School, in Amtala, to take him in and pay him his “arrears”. In the landmark ruling, the headmaster of the school, some of his colleagues and a clerk were also asked to pay the interest that had accrued to Chakraborty over five years.

The teacher’s struggle, however, was not over as his colleagues challenged Justice Pratap Ray’s ruling and told a division bench, comprising Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice Jayanta Biswas, that the managing committee had not adopted any resolution urging the district inspector of schools’ office to accept Chakraborty as a teacher.

The division bench then asked the district inspector’s office to file an affidavit, vouching for the claims made by the teachers. The education department’s lawyers produced the relevant documents, but one in the set revealed that the managing committee had, in fact, passed a resolution taking in Chakraborty in November 1997.

Chakraborty’s legal team, too, produced the same set of papers, prompting the division bench to issue contempt notices on all the 13 accused. They have been asked to be present in court on February 24 to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.

Chakraborty’s appointment, the trial court had decided, was legal. The school had inserted advertisements in newspapers and also asked the employment exchange to send a panel to recruit a teacher for the secondary section. Chakraborty’s name was on the exchange’s list.

The managing committee of the school selected him after an interview and his name was forwarded to the South 24-Parganas district inspector of schools’ office. An approval followed and Chakraborty was handed his appointment letter.

Then, Chakraborty found to his horror that a large section of the school staff, allegedly backed by the ruling party, had someone else in mind to fill the vacancy and refused to let him enter the classroom. Chakraborty first approached the police and then the courts.

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