In a big setback for the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court on Friday said he might have to ask the Election Commission of India (ECI) to cancel the party's recognition and withdraw its logo.
"No one has the right to do anything with the Constitution of India. I might have to ask the ECI to cancel the recognition of Trinamool Congress as a political party and withdraw its party logo," Justice Gangopadhyay said.
His observation came after the state education secretary, Manish Jain informed his bench that a decision to create additional teachers' posts to accommodate those allegedly getting their appointment illegally was taken by the West Bengal cabinet and ordered by the state education minister, Bratya Basu.
Following this, Justice Gangopadhyay questioned how the state cabinet could take such a decision to accommodate ineligible candidates appointed illegally.
"The state cabinet will have to announce that they are not in backing the illegal appointments and also withdraw the notification on May 19 for creation of additional teachers' appointments. Else I will take such a decision that is unprecedented in the country. I feel that either democracy is not in right hands or democracy has not flourished property.
"If necessary, I will make the entire state cabinet a party in the matter and summon each member of the cabinet. If necessary, I will issue show-cause notice to all of them," Justice Gangopadhyay observed.
During the hearing, Jain faced a volley of questions from Justice Gangopadhyay.
"Don't you think that the cabinet has resorted to violation of the Constitution of India by taking such a decision? How could the cabinet members approve such a decision? Did not anyone alert them?" he questioned.
In reply, the education secretary said that he was not present at the cabinet meeting when the decision was taken.
Jain informed the court that the state education minister on giving instructions on creation of additional posts asked for taking legal advice.
"Did the legal brains advise such an illegal appointment?" questioned Justice Gangopadhyay, to this, Jain replied: "No."
Thereafter Justice Gangopadhyay questioned whether illegal appointment can be a policy of the state government.
"Why the state government bear expenses behind ineligible candidates?" he queried.
(With inputs from IANS)