Ending the saga of the infamous education scam, the Meghalaya High Court today dismissed the plea by 66 persons who sought to be reinstated as assistant teachers in Government Lower Primary Schools in the State.
The 66 petitioners had moved a writ petition before the bench of Justice Hamarsan Sing Thangkhiew challenging the report dated February 22, 2021 submitted by a three-member committee of the State government which was set up as per the High Court order dated September 22, 2020 in WP(C) No. 195 of 2020.
The challenge this time around is however, limited to the findings of the committee with regard to the age of the writ petitioners. 46 of them were declared by the committee to be age barred and the rest 20 were found to not possess the requisite marks.
In accordance with the High Court order dated September 22, 2020 passed in WP(C) No. 195 of 2020, as many as 253 out of the 260 teachers who were found to be tainted in the report of the CBI dated November 13, 2018, and recommended for termination by the committee, vide its report dated January 3, 2020, filed their representations.
The committee after examining the representations declared 187 candidates as not tainted. The remaining 66 therefore, being aggrieved by the findings of the committee filed a writ petition in the High Court assailing the CBI report dated November 13, 2018 and the committee’s report and recommendation dated February 22, 2021.
The High Court order dated November 2, 2017 in WA No. 52 of 2011, had allowed the candidates who had been found tainted/blemished in the CBI report and/or the High-Level Scrutiny Committee report in five centres, to make representations within 30 days before the Chief Secretary for consideration as untainted candidate.
The petitioners however stated that they had not been able to file their representations within 30 days, as stipulated in Para-2 of the operative part of the High Court order dated November 2, 2017. The High Court by order dated September 22, 2020 in WP(C) No. 195 of 2020 in consideration of their plea, allowed the same liberty to the petitioners. The liberty so given was on the ground that the petitioners could not file the representations earlier, as a copy of the CBI report was not made available to them.
The court said that with the grant of the liberty and the subsequent proceedings before the committee, wherein the representations were examined and recommendations made thereon, no further cause of action has accrued to the petitioners to reagitate for re-examination of the matter on the contentions as raised.
“It is pertinent to note herein, that on the question of the age criteria, which has been put forth as the main ground to impugn the findings of the committee, apart from the fact that no challenge had ever been put to the notification and advertisement dated December 10, 2008 and November 24, 2008, the committee had considered and also addressed this issue,” Justice Hamarsan Singh Thangkhiew said in his order today.
“This court is also inclined to accept the submissions of the respondents that there exist distinct causes of action and clubbing of the petitioners in one petition and further seeking to make a distinction of 46 petitioners who are age barred, from the total 66 petitioners, without indicating the names of those petitioners, has surely disabled the writ petition,” the court said.
The High Court also stated that there is nothing left for consideration by the court as all the issues have already been discussed and dealt with.
“To reconsider the matter on the pleadings of the writ petitioners herein would therefore, amount to going behind the orders of the division bench which is impermissible, as the liberty so granted to the petitioners is circumscribed by the orders dated November 2, 2017 and September 22, 2020 passed in WA No. 52 of 2011 and in WP(C) No. 195 of 2020 respectively,” the court added.