Calcutta High Court Slams State Govt after 1 Lakh SSC exam OMR answer sheets go missing from safe custody

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A plea sought direction to the state government to declare the results of the SSC examination held in 2018, however, later it was found that 1 lakh OMR answer sheets are missing from the safe custody.

The Calcutta High Court recently slammed the State Government after 1 Lakh OMR answer sheets of an SSC recruitment examination went missing from safe custody.

A bench of Justice Apoorba Sinha Roy and Justice Arijit Banerjee said, "We are not satisfied with a mere statement made on behalf of the State that the OMR sheets cannot be found."

The petition was filed by candidates represented by Advocates Raghunath Chakraborty, Sabnam Sultana, and Mijanul Kabir which stated that "the State must explain how more than one lakh OMR sheets could be lost". Assuming that the OMR sheets are indeed not traceable, the persons responsible should be taken to task, the plea added.

In view of the above, the bench directed the Secretary, Panchayat and Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal to file a report in the form of an affidavit stating inter alia as follows:

  • How many candidates participated in the written examination?
  • How many Centers of Examination were there?
  • After the examination was held, where were the OMR sheets kept?
  • It appears that the examination was held on July 22, 2018. The outbreak of Covid was only in March 2020. Why were no steps taken toward carrying the recruitment process to its logical conclusion for more than one and a half years after the written examination was held?
  • Which Officers were responsible for safe custody of the concerned OMR sheets?
  • It appears from the order sheet dated December 27, 2022, issued by the Secretary, Panchayat and Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal, copies whereof have been handed up to Court by Mr. Basu Mallick that OMR sheets have already been evaluated. If that is so, why, with the help of the independent agency concerned, can't the recruitment process be concluded instead of holding a recruitment process de novo?

Additionally, the court directed the state government that they shall not take any further step in connection with the proposed de novo recruitment process without leave of the high court.

Case Title: Ramesh Mondal & Ors. Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors.