Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Scrutiny panel lacks power to probe tainted

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LP Teachers’ recruitment scam

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The High Level Scrutiny Committee (HSLC) appointed by the State Government does not have the mandate to investigate into the wrongdoings of former Education Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh and other legislators in appointment of assistant teachers in Government Lower Primary Schools as revealed by the CBI report.

There is no direct reference that the Committee would probe into the tampering of the score sheets on the directive of the then Education Minister.

According to legal experts, the constitution of the HLSC is self defeating since the Committee cannot override the CBI report which is an independent investigating agency. The experts also claimed that the departmental committee would not have the power to recommend action against the ministers and legislators involved in the illegal recruitment process.

“The decision of Government to appeal before the court to constitute HLSC is a glaring attempt to protect the people involved in the scam. The Government has gone on to appeal before the court without bothering to open the CBI report which is suprising,” legal experts said.

Meanwhile, sources also pointed out that the Committee is supposed to complete its inquiry by February 28, 2013 as per the Government notification while adding that with this deadline, it would mean the committee would complete its task after the elections.

“There are also possibilities that the Committee might seek further extension. No one would be able to tell how much more time the Committee needs to complete its probe,” sources said.

Sources also questioned whether the Government would take any kind of action on the findings of the Committee.

“Many committees in the past have submitted their probe reports, but we have never heard of the Government taking action on the basis of those reports,” the legal experts said.

Meanwhile, legal experts observed that with the vague mandate, the assurance of the Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma of taking action against those involved in the scam as per the findings of the HSLC is misleading.

As per the notification issued by the Education department for constitution of the Committee, the terms of reference of the HLSC is to scrutinize and review the records regarding the candidature of the selected and unselected candidates in order to ascertain the legality of such selection or no-selection, as the case may be, and thereafter segregating the tainted candidates from the non-tainted.

The Committee has also been mandated to take necessary action to offer appointment and confirm appointments of duly selected candidates whether already appointed or not or also terminate the candidature/appointment of the ineligible candidates and appointment the eligible candidates including the writ petitioner, if found suitable.

While undertaking this exercise, the Committee shall also take beneficial assistance and guidance of the findings, if any, recorded legitimately by the CBI in its inquiry report which is now lying in the custody of the Government, the notification said.

The Committee will also ascertain if any officer or authority has indulged in deliberate complicity of the matter of vitiating or otherwise interfering with the election process.

The three-member Committee consists of EP Kharbhih, Secretary, Education department as Chairman, CCM Mihsil, Joint Secretary, Education department and P Ryngksai, Deputy Director, Directorate of School Education and Literacy.

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