Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the high court on Tuesday said he would, “if necessary”, cancel the entire panel of candidates who had cracked the 2015 Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) for primary schools if they were found to be recruited illegally.
If the judge passes such an order, the appointment of 42,000-odd teachers in government-aided primary schools would stand cancelled.
“The court will cancel the 2016 panel of primary TET if the court feels it necessary,” Justice Gangopadhyay said while hearing a petition that raised questions about the process through which these teachers were appointed.
About 42,000 candidates who had written the TET in 2015 — the notification for which was issued the previous year — were empanelled for appointment by the state primary education board in 2016.
A little more than 42,000 candidates have since joined government-aided primary schools (classes I to V).
If the judge cancels the 2016 panel, the appointment of these teachers will be overturned.
Such a situation, according to officials of the primary education board, will deal a serious blow to the primary education system at a time fresh recruitment is yet to start.
Justice Gangopadhayay’s comment on Tuesday came a week after it emerged that many of the candidates who were appointed as teachers had been marked erroneously while preparing the panel. The errors, revealed by details of the marks uploaded by the board on its website, related to factoring in of the candidates’ higher secondary scores.
A teaching job aspirant who has qualified TET can score a maximum of 10 based on his or her performance in the HS exam.
The Telegraph is in possession of a document that shows a candidate’s score based on the HS marks is 10.96.
“Questions are bound to be raised about how these teachers were recruited in view of these queries... and erroneous marking,” said Swapan Mandal, assistant general secretary of the Bengal Teachers’ and Employees’ Association. Teachers losing their job following court orders is not unheard of.
In March, the school service commission had cancelled the appointment of at least 17 teachers following an order of Justice Gangopadhyay.
The chairman of a district primary school council said the crisis was becoming more serious by the day because fresh recruitment has not yet started.
The board had on November 11 published on its website the scores of successful TET 2014 candidates, in compliance with a high court order, so they could take part in the interview.
“But cases are being filed at regular intervals and board officials are spending a lot of time just to deal with them. The board has yet to announce when it could hold the interview for appointing 7,000-odd teachers,” said the chairman.
Justice Gangopadhyay on Tuesday issued an order asking the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) to publish a list of 40 teachers of various subjects who were allegedly recruited illegally at the secondary and higher secondary levels.
The list, apart from containing the names of the candidates, should mention their marks in the OMR sheets, the judge ordered.
Sources in the commission said the scores in the OMR sheets that the CBI recovered from the hard disc of a Ghaziabad-based OMR vending company, which was engaged by the SSC for the state-levelselection test in 2016, do nottally with the scores the commission had uploaded on its website in July.
The commission on Tuesday evening uploaded the scanned images of the 40 candidates along with their names, roll numbers (in the selection tests) and the subjects they were to teach.