Kolkata: The whole country should see and judge the happenings in the state regarding illegal recruitments being made in the state by the SSC ( school service commission)," Justice Abhijit Gangapadhyaya retorted in Calcutta High Court on Wednesday. He appeared to be perturbed by the continuous stays the West Bengal government has obtained in the division bench, which has breached his single bench orders regarding the School Service Commission scam.
He said that it was "tying the hands of single judge" and directed the cases to be sent to the Chief Justice of India and to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta Highcourt for urgent intervention in this matter.
Notably, such outpour of grievance by a high court judge of the Kolkata Highcourt is a rare occurrence.
In the observation made in the case, the judge has also alleged that a lawyer representing an influential person also approached him to "settle" the matter. He also added that if the High Court Chief Justice wants to know about the said lawyer, he will give him the name.
The single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangapadhya had ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the two cases of teacher recruitment and two cases of staff recruitment in state-run schools by the SSC.
However, a division bench of justice Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samanta ordered a stay on both these orders of the single bench of Justice Gangapadhya.
The HC order would have been an issue for the Mamata Banerjee-led government as it had resisted CBI intervention in state's issues, ranging from the alleged Narada sting operation or Saradha chit fund scam, or investigations into post-poll violence of 2021.
The CM withdrew the government's 'general consent" to the CBI to conduct investigations in 2018, claiming it could potentially be misused by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government. The case regarding this move also reached the Supreme Court after the post-poll violence in West Bengal.
Speaking to Newsclick, the advocate for the petitioners and legal expert, Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya detailed the turn of events leading to the disdain of the High Court judge. He said that a video has been viral wherein a lawyer associated with the ruling Trinamool Congress has been seen saying that the judges were "managed" to give stay orders in the SSC case. "In the observations and order passed by the Honorable Justice of the Calcutta High Court, it is now clear that there were attempts to influence him, and it is obvious that he has been approached so that he doesn't pass any order in this case," Bhattacharya said.
In another case of disproportionate property belonging to an SSC officer, the same Single Bench had passed an order for probing the assets acquired by the officer. Against that order, the Division Bench remarked that the result of the probe in that case could not be made open for disclosure, and it should be kept in a sealed envelope and it can only be disclosed after this case has been settled. On hearing the Division Bench's order, The Single Judge referred the case to the court of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and the court of Chief Justice of Calcutta HC Prakash Srivastava. He also remarked that it is to be seen that who all benefit from these orders of the Division Bench whereby independence of the judiciary is being curtailed.
Advocate Bhattacharya said that the order of the Calcutta HC was unprecedented. He remarked, "Court is expected to direct the legal system towards the trajectory of truth. Any attempt to misdirect any case from outside is condemnable. The court can even suo motto issue a rule of contempt".