Court Pauses Its Order Cancelling 32,000 Bengal Primary Teachers’ Jobs

Share this on your social network proudly:

The Calcutta High Court today passed an interim stay on an earlier order terminating jobs of around 32,000 teachers in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided primary schools till the end of September or until further orders.A single bench on May 12 ordered the cancellation of appointment of around 32,000 candidates who had not completed training when they were recruited as primary teachers through a selection process in 2016 on the basis of Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) of 2014.”There shall be an interim stay on termination of jobs till the end of September 2023, or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” a division bench presided by Justice Subrata Talukdar directed.The termination of jobs without giving a chance of meaningful right of defence to the affected parties prima facie requires judicial intervention, the bench, also comprising Justice Supratim Bhattacharya, said while passing its interim order on an appeal by the West Bengal Board of Primary Education and some affected teachers.The division bench ordered that the board will, however, conduct the selection exercise exactly as directed by the single bench within three months – by the end of August 2023.Ordering cancellation of the around 32,000 jobs, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had on May 12 directed that the board will immediately arrange for a recruitment exercise for candidates who were untrained at the time of recruitment, including candidates who have obtained training qualifications in the meantime, within three months.He had directed that this opportunity will be open only to those who participated in the 2016 recruitment process.The court had said that in the exercise, both the interview and aptitude test of all examinees will be taken and the whole interview process has to be videographed carefully and preserved.Justice Gangopadhyay had directed that the recruitment process will be under the same rules and legal procedures under which the 2016 recruitment process was conducted.He had said that these primary teachers will be allowed to work in the respective institutions where they are working now for a period of four months at the remuneration equal to a para teacher of primary school.Senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said that the interim order will allow the teachers, whose jobs were ordered to be cancelled by the single bench, to get salary as per their pay scale till further orders by the court.Other portions of the single bench order regarding the recruitment exercise remain, he said.The writ application before the single bench was filed by 140 petitioners who were qualified in TET 2014 and participated in the 2016 recruitment process, but did not get appointments.The division bench in its interim order on Friday said that the petitioners before the single bench had accrued a cause of action with the discovery of fresh materials by the board.It said that as a result, the single bench was within its jurisdiction to inquire into the aspects connected with the discovery of the fresh materials.The court also said that the single bench, however, had a duty to extend the right of hearing to the appointees, who are the appellants before the division bench.”It is trite that justice delayed is justice denied, and conversely, justice hurried is justice buried,” the court said.The division bench said that the termination of jobs, which were earlier protected by two other single benches of this high court, without extending a right of defence to the affected parties, prima facie requires judicial intervention.Passing the interim stay, the court directed that the matter will appear for hearing again in the first week of September.The bench directed the parties in the matter to exchange affidavits within eight weeks, with the first four weeks being for affidavits in opposition to the appeal and the next four weeks for affidavits in reply to those.