“This is not my decision. The case was shifted from my bench on the orders of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest office of justice in the country and we all need to abide by its orders,” these were the initial words of Justice Abhijit Ganguly after the Supreme Court issued an order asking to reassign proceedings in the West Bengal teachers’ recruitment ‘scam’ to another judge. Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay needs no introduction, he had not only listened but also stood beside the protesters sitting at the Shahid Minar in Kolkata seeking justice against the Teacher’s Recruitment Scam that had destroyed the hopes of thousands of teachers who inspite of qualifying were deprived of their jobs because they could not bribe the officials or in other words fail to buy the job. “As long as I am in the service of justice, I’ll continue to raise my voice against irregularities and corruption. I don’t know what will be the fate of this case but would like to advice the agitators to be patient as the matter is still in court and has only been shifted to a different judge,” added Justice Ganguly who has received immense love, respect, and adulation of the people, many see him like God and worship him.
The order had come like a jolt for many of the protesters who had been carrying their crusade against the corruption after Justice Ganguly had assured them, “aami paliye jabar lok naa, er shesh dekhe charbo” (I am not a man to run away and I assure you that I will see an end to this). “We are still trying to understand the order as things are not yet clear to us. Our next course of action will depend will depend on this. Indeed, it’s a big blow for us as we had been expecting a judgement … this was not expected, we are shocked and confused,” said a member of the Sangrami Jaoutha Mancha.
Justice Ganguly kept his promise, it was due to his intervention, few candidates received the appointment letters just a few days before the Durga Puja last year. “aamraa khub khushi…Justice Ganguly amader kachey bhogoban … aamaader pujo onar jonne anonde bhore uthlo aaj eto maash por.” said a candidate. (We are very happy. We are indebted to Justice Ganguly for bringing happiness during Durga Puja after so many months). It was due to this some of the puja pandals had erected his bust and statue as a mark of respect.
What triggered this sudden development? Justice Ganguly had become an eyesore for the ruling Trinamool especially after he personally supervised the scam cases and began calling the accused. Some of the other developments at a glance:
1) Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into the appointments of 269 primary school teachers in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools over allegations that they did not pass the eligibility test.
2) In his order, Justice Ganguly directed the primary education board secretary Ratna Chakraborti Bagchi and president Manik Bhattacharya to appear before the CBI at its office later in the day.
3) He had earlier ordered CBI investigation in at least eight cases of alleged illegalities in appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education in government-sponsored and aided schools.
4) During a probe, Justice Ganguly had asked the illegal appointees to confess the truth, “I assure you nothing would happen to you if you confess but if you lie then things will be difficult, I will not tolerate any corruption in teacher’s recruitment.”
5) He recommended that the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) terminate the services of 2,819 persons who were illegally appointed to Group D posts in government-aided schools. The WBSSC will start the process of terminating the services of nearly 800 Class IX and Class X teachers who got their jobs illegally.” “I want to see that every genuine candidate is absorbed in these posts,” said Justice Ganguly.
On Friday, the Supreme Court objected to an interview given by Justice Ganguly to popular Bengali satellite news channel ABP Ananda in which he in conversation with Senior Vice President Suman De had made critical remarks about nephew/Trinamool General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee. After Friday’s development, many question have been raised by people on social media platforms and mainstream media questioning the integrity of the media that could have stopped Justice Ganguly from making these remarks or could have edited. It has also raised a question on how could Justice Ganguly and the media house flout the Bangalore Protocol that restricts any sitting judge to talk to media or share his or her views. Justice Ganguly may have done it on humanitarian grounds as he once said, “I do understand the pain of being unemployed and I feel ashamed to see such bright young people sitting on roads to attract the attention of the state government.” many have deviated from the Bengali channel that had carried out the interview as they feel it was ‘planned framing’ for an exclusive story. Questions are being asked why the journalist, the channel were not booked as they too had violated the protocol.
On one hand when the development had come like a shock for the common people and agitators, on the other hand, it brought cheers to the ruling Trinamool that called it as right judgement. However, Justice Ganguly without naming a spokesperson (who had earlier verbally attacked and challenged him) said, “aami onake pronaam janai, aamaar jana chilona je uni eto bhaalo bhobishot bolte paaren.” (My respects to ‘him’, I had no idea that he can foresee future so well). However, the spokesperson said, “I have nothing personal against him but yes this teaches him a befitting lesson as he had made a few derogatory remarks against my leaders.” It was clear that Trinamool could not eschew Justice Ganguly’s remarks over so-called poems by their Supremo Mamata Banerjee.
Not just this spokesperson, but many within the party are seeing as their victory since Justice Ganguly’s conviction to see “an end to the teacher’s recruitment scam’ not only became an eyesore but found it hard to eschew as the scam as it is building-up, may turn out to be the biggest scam of this country. Top and close confidants of Mamata Banerjee including former Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, Bolpur Trinamool President Anubrata Mandal (Didi’d Keshta) are already in the custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI. It is not know still who else are involved in this scam.
Justice Ganguly will always remain a hero and will be loved, respected as he stood beside the common people. The social media is abuzz with posts praising him for his sincere initiatives.