Calcutta  HC single bench directs CBI to probe reserved category certificates, division bench stays order

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday stayed within hours a single bench’s direction to the CBI to investigate allegations of irregularities in issuance of certificates of reserved category candidates and use of those for admission in medical colleges in West Bengal.

The stay came after Advocate General Kishore Dutta, representing the West Bengal government, moved the division bench presided by Justice Soumen Sen on the ground that the state was not allowed to rely on documents to show that it had initiated a probe about the issuance of fake caste certificates.

Orally moving the division bench soon after the single bench order, Dutta submitted that there is no prayer for a CBI investigation by the petitioner.

The division bench stayed the order of the single bench for two weeks and directed that the matter will be taken up for hearing on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay directed that the entire process of issuance of reserved category certificates and admission of candidates with such certificates in medical colleges for the last three years be thoroughly investigated by the CBI.

He directed that the SIT (special investigation team) constituted by this court in respect of alleged irregularities in education appointment cases will probe the matter.

Justice Gangopadhyay further directed that if necessary, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will also come into the picture for investigation if it finds any money trail involved in the matter.

The division bench, also comprising Justice Uday Kumar, observed that unless there is a prayer in the writ petition for a CBI investigation or a case is made out for a CBI probe, “the right of the state to conduct a fair and impartial investigation by its agencies cannot be lightly interfered with as it would result in disruption of the co-operative federal structure of the country.”

The single bench order had said that in a petition where a corrupt practice is apparent, whether or not the petitioner prayed for such a probe cannot act as a deterrent in the exercise of a writ court’s jurisdiction.

On Justice Gangopadhyay’s order, a CBI officer appeared before his court after recess on Wednesday.

Justice Gangopadhyay noted that the papers produced by the AG were handed over to him from this court.

Noting that the petitioner’s counsel submitted before him at that time that the matter was mentioned before the appeal court on behalf of the state, Justice Gangopadhyay said that no one from the state has intimated to him about it.

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