School appointment Cal HC asks parties to submit summary of arguments

    Kolkata, Jun 23 (PTI) A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Thursday sought the summary of arguments from the contestants while hearing a prayer by West Bengal Primary Education Board for a stay on a single bench ruling that directed a CBI probe into appointment of at least 269 teachers in state government-sponsored or -aided primary schools.
    The bench headed by Justice Subrata Talukdar said that hearing in the matter will be taken up again on June 30.
    Appearing for the board, senior counsel Kishore Dutta submitted that one mark for a wrong question was given to the 269 candidates who would have benefitted from the exercise in the Teachers' Eligibility Test (TET) 2014, while over 20 lakh examinees were not given the same as that would not have had any additional outcome for them.
    He submitted before the bench, also comprising Justice Lopita Banerjee, that those who had got marks above the cut-off or lower than it by at least two points were not given the additional mark as that would not have helped them in any way.
    It was stated that an expert committee was appointed by the board to look into the issue of wrong question, which then recommended that an additional mark be given for it.
    Justice Talukdar asked the board counsel if not giving the extra mark to each of the over 20 lakh candidates who appeared for the 2014 TET meant unequal treatment since 269 is a miniscule percentage of the total examinees.
    He said that the petitioners had also questioned why the decision to grant an extra mark for a wrong question was not made public for the knowledge of all.
    Sudipto Dasgupta, lawyer for one of the petitioners in the matter, submitted that emphasis is given on TET qualification marks in the selection process of teachers and as such the additional mark should have been given to all candidates and not just 269 only.
    Firdous Shamim, lawyer for another petitioner questioning the appointment process for primary teachers, claimed that a public employment turned into a private affair by way of unfair recruitments.
    Of the 23 lakh candidates for the 2014 TET, over 20 lakh appeared for the examination and 1.25 lakh qualified, Dutta told the court, adding that 29,358 untrained and more than 11,000 trained candidates were appointed against total 42,949 vacancies in primary schools.
    He stated that following a directive by the Ministry of Human Resources Development in September 2017, whichbarred appointment of untrained teachers, these 269 trained candidates were chosen who had one mark short of pass mark.
    Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had on June 13 directed the CBI to probe appointment of 269 primary school teachers in Bengal government-sponsored and -aided schools over allegations that they did not pass TET.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)