Coming down heavily on two mega exercises in Uttar Pradesh to hire government teachers, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday quashed the selection of over 12,000 of them and asked the CBI to probe the process for filling another 68,500 posts.
The Lucknow bench of the court on Thursday struck down the selection of 12,460 teachers by the state government through an exam advertised in December 2016, saying it broke rules.
In the second case, for 68,500 posts advertised this year, it directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe charges of corruption.
While the 12,460 assistant teachers were selected during the term of the Akhilesh Yadav government, the second order by the same bench is an embarrassment for the Yogi Adityanath government.
Both recruitment exercises were, however, already on hold after rejected aspirants moved court.
Allegations of corruption had stalled the filling of 68,500 posts in primary schools through the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2018.
The exercise was meant to be the first major recruitment by the state’s basic education department after the new Bharatiya Janata Party government took over.
The high court directed the CBI to complete the probe into the 2018 recruitment process within six months and submit a progress report to it on November 26.
The state Advocate General Raghvendra Singh had earlier said the government was not ready for a CBI inquiry, compelling the court to pass the order on its own.
Issuing directions on a bunch of writ petitions, Justice Irshad Ali directed that the officers who were part of the 2018 selection process would cooperate in the investigation and make available all necessary documents required by the CBI.
The petitioners had made serious allegations related to this year’s exam, including the charge that answer books were switched.
Justice Ali said the court is prima facie satisfied there is material evidence to establish that the examination authorities misused their power to give undue advantage to the candidates of their choice.
Earlier, the government had constituted a high-powered committee after the court pointed out several cases of alleged corrupt practices.
But the court was not satisfied with it.
The court was upset that no criminal proceeding had begun even when an agency hired by the state government for bar-coding had accepted that the notebooks of 12 candidates were switched.
In the earlier case, the bench ruled that the 12,460 assistant teachers were selected without following the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, 1981.
The court directed that the selection process should begin afresh in the 2016 case. It should be completed within three months, it said.
The court was told that rules were changed to allow candidates from districts with no vacancies to pick any other district as their first choice for counselling.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate J N Mathur said the rules cannot be changed once the selection proceedings has started.
Those selected under the 2016 recruitment process were not handed over the appointment letters following a stay order.