Supreme Court says West Bengal recruitment scam 'systemic fraud', state's duty to keep records [7.5.2024]

Terming the alleged recruitment scam in West Bengal "systemic fraud", the Supreme Court on Tuesday said authorities were duty-bound to maintain the digitised records pertaining to the appointment of 25,753 teachers and non-teaching staff.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Calcutta High Court's April 22 decision that invalidated the appointment of 25,753 teachers and non-teaching staff in state-run and state-aided schools of West Bengal.

"The public job is so scarce.... Nothing remains if the faith of the public goes. This is systemic fraud. Public jobs are extremely scarce today and are looked at for social mobility. What remains in the system if their appointments are also maligned? People will lose faith, how do you countenance this?" the CJI asked the lawyers representing the state government.

The bench said the state government has nothing to show that the data was maintained by its authorities and asked about its availability.

"Either you have the data or you do not have it.... You were duty-bound to maintain the documents in digitised form. Now, it is obvious that there is no data. You are unaware of the fact that your service provider has engaged another agency. You had to maintain supervisory control," the bench told the state government's lawyers.

The hearing would resume at 2 pm.

Earlier, the state government had challenged the Calcutta High Court order, saying it cancelled the appointments "arbitrarily".

07 May 2024