On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a stay on the Calcutta High Court’s April 13 order that had directed the West Bengal police not to lodge any First Information Report (FIR) against officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) who were investigating a school jobs-for-bribes scam. The high court had also directed that Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Abhishek Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh, an accused in the case, could be questioned by the central agencies, and such “interrogation should be made soon.”
A bench consisting of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwalam stayed the direction of the single judge bench of the high court and decided to hear the plea on April 24, 2023. The apex court ordered that there shall be a stay on all actions against the petitioner until the next date of listing.
The Calcutta High Court was hearing a petition related to alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools. The court had asked the central agencies to probe the role of state TMC leaders in the case.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the TMC leaders, sought an urgent hearing on the plea challenging the high court order in the case. The high court had directed the police not to lodge FIRs on complaints against CBI and ED officers without its permission.
The Supreme Court’s stay on the high court’s order comes as a relief for the CBI and the ED, who are investigating the scam. The case has attracted significant attention due to the involvement of TMC leaders, and the central agencies have been actively pursuing the case.