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Calcutta High Court stay on teacher hire

Order issued following petitions filed by job aspirants whose names did not feature on the list issued by the West Bengal Board of Primary Education
Calcutta High Court

Our Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 23.02.21, 02:34 AM

The Bengal government's plan to appoint about 16,500 teachers for primary schools hit a roadblock on Monday with a Calcutta High Court judge ordering an interim stay on the recruitment process following complaints of discrepancies in the merit list.

The recruitment had started last week.

The interim order was issued by Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj following petitions filed by job aspirants whose names did not feature on the list issued by the West Bengal Board of Primary Education.

The petitioners alleged many discrepancies in the list and said the court should scan the selection process before allowing the state to go ahead.

Sources in the education department said the litigation was a tactic to slow down the recruitment process, already long delayed. The government tried to speed it up ahead of the Assembly elections.

The judge will hear the case in detail after four weeks. The state has been restrained from appointing teachers till further orders.

Lawyers familiar with the case said the state government was likely to challenge Justice Bhardwaj’s order before a division bench of the court within a couple of days.

An official in the school education department said: “After the board issued the notice about the recruitment process, the candidates had to enter their roll numbers on a portal to know whether their names figured on the list. But the candidates said a merit list must contain names with details like how much they scored in each phase of the screening process.”

In December, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that 16,500 teachers would be appointed at the primary level (Classes I to IV).

The candidates who had cracked the teacher eligibility test (TET) in 2014 and undergone DLEd (diploma in elementary education) training were interviewed from a pool of aspirants in January.  

The primary education board, which usually takes several months after concluding the interviews to publish the merit list, did so within a month of the interviews on this occasion.

The Bengal government had wanted the newly recruited teachers to report to their respective schools by the end of March.

This is the second time in three months that the court has raised objections to the recruitment process at the primary level.

On December 11, the court had quashed the process initiated by the school service commission to recruit around 15,000 teachers for upper primary schools (Classes V to VIII).

Aspiring teachers are among the most vocal critics of the Mamata Banerjee government.

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