HC order on Bengal school jobs 'illegal', will challenge: Mamata

The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered the cancellation of all appointments made through the recruitment process of the State Level Selection Test-2016 (SLST) in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee addresses an election rally.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee addresses an election rally.Photo | X @AITCofficial

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday termed as "illegal" the Calcutta High Court order cancelling all appointments made through a 2016 teacher recruitment test, and said her government will challenge the verdict.

Banerjee, while addressing an election rally at Raiganj in North Bengal, also accused BJP leaders of influencing certain judicial decisions. "The court verdict cancelling all recruitments is illegal. We stand by those who lost jobs. We will ensure you get justice, and challenge the order in a higher court," she said.

The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered the cancellation of all appointments made through the recruitment process of the State Level Selection Test-2016 (SLST) in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools, declaring it "null and void".

Later, addressing another rally at Karandighi, Banerjee asserted, "It is not mandatory to accept all verdicts. We will challenge the order in the Supreme Court. This order was passed as per the BJP's instructions amid the elections." Accusing the saffron party of manipulating the judicial system, Banerjee said: "It has turned the courts into their extended party offices. If the BJP files a PIL, prompt action is taken and people are sent to jail. No action is initiated when others file."

In an apparent reference to former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay joining the BJP after resigning, Banerjee commented, "The connection is evident and visible to all." The chief minister also blamed the central government for compromising a section of the judiciary. "People aligned with the BJP are given important positions... and whatever suggestions the BJP sends from its party offices are being passed as judgments," she alleged.

In its order, the high court also directed the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) to initiate a fresh recruitment process. Over 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the SLST-2016 for 24,640 vacant posts. A total of 25,753 appointment letters were issued against the vacancies, said Firdaus Shamim, a lawyer for some of the petitioners.

Banerjee asserted that she would continue to fight for people's rights. "I am not concerned about legal actions against me. If they want to punish me, file a defamation case or send me to jail, I am prepared. But, I will not bow my head while fighting for the rights of people," she said. "The teachers should not worry. I am with you through thick and thin. Our government has another 10 lakh jobs ready," Banerjee added.

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