Calcutta HC Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay recuses himself from SSC case

In a rare incident, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court, expressing his displeasure over the lack of transparency in the recruitment process by the School Service Commission (SSC), has recused himself from the case.

Gangopadhyay, who was hearing the irregularities of the SSC in the teacher recruitment process, said that he has lost all faith in the recruitment board and would not hear the case anymore.

This is perhaps the first time in recent years that a judge has recused himself from a case because of his displeasure against the respondent.

The incident dates back to 2016 when the SSC took an examination for recruiting teachers for tenth standard. In 2018, the SSC announced the results. One of the examinees, Govinda Mondal, who failed to qualify for the job, filed an RTI which threw up some surprising facts.

It was found that though Mondal scored 60 per cent marks, his name was not considered but a candidate with 58.8 per cent marks got selected. There were several other irregularities that came to light after the RTI, following which Mondal moved the court for justice.

The matter was scheduled for hearing in the court of Justice Gangopadhyay and he asked for clarification from the School Service Commission.

On Tuesday, the SSC informed the court that there were faults in the recruitment process, which made the judge furious.

Making his observation, Gangopadhyay said, “The situation is such that I have lost all faith in SSC. They can do anything.”

There are several other cases on the irregularities of the SSC that are lying pending in the court and this case is an addition to that.

Last Friday, the Calcutta High Court had imposed costs to the tune of Rs 3.8 lakh on the President of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, Manik Bhattacharya, on finding that there was an attempt to distort an earlier order of the court pertaining to the Primary Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) of 2014 in order to avoid compliance.

Gangopadhyay had observed that the respondent authority had deliberately tried to distort the clear and unambiguous operative part of the court’s earlier judgment, thus committing a serious illegality.

“I find that the respondents are desperately trying to distort the clear and unambiguous operative portion of the said judgement and order passed by the said writ court for no reason at all, except harassing the candidates/petitioners who came before this court and pointed out the errors and wrongs committed by the respondents. The respondents have shown the courage of fools to modify the clear and unambiguous order of the court and have instead followed their own,” the court had observed.

Similarly, on July 1, the high court had stayed the recruitment process of upper primary teachers because of irregularities in the recruitment process.