The lethargic developments in Meghalaya’s infamous education scam
'Tareekh par tareekh (Dates upon dates)', a popular Bollywood movie dialogue by Sunny Deol we might have heard and rather witnessed in case of the infamous Meghalaya education scam which has been dragged for more than 5 years now without any decision on the same.
As per CBI reports, hundreds of deserving candidates were deprived of their rights as their merits were not taken into account while many candidates whose names were recommended by ministers and MLAs got jobs after the score of the deserving candidates were tampered with by those at the helm of affairs in the Education Department in the state. The findings on the alleged irregularities in the appointment of assistant teachers in the government lower primary schools in 2009-2010 left all job aspirants demoralized.
From the year 2010 till the present, there has not been any firm decision taken on this issue and the blame game has been going on uninterrupted.
Further, the involvement of various high profile ministers such as Ampareen Lyngdoh, the then Education Minister among others makes it even more controversial and perhaps a 'not-so-easy-to-resolve' issue.
In December 2012, the matter was also raised by the lone Rajya Sabha member from Meghalaya, Thomas Sangma who wanted to know the latest about the CBI probe and action taken by the Government.
Later in 2013, N Thohrem, the Investigation Officer (IO) while presenting the status of the case before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate revealed that all documents related to the recruitment were under the custody of the CBI. This led to further delay of the issue.
In 2014, the hearing of the case was deferred more than once on various grounds. During the April 21 hearing of the plea by five petitioners whose services were terminated due to the manipulation in their marks, the Supreme Court in its order had made the formation of High Level Scrutiny Committee (HLSC) which probed the education scam as non-functional by staying the order of the Division bench of the Gauhati High Court which facilitated the formation of HLSC. However, as per the notice issued by the Supreme Court to the State Government, state education department and also to some candidates who were eligible, a hearing was fixed on July 7 to get their views, objections to the interim order.
On December 2015, it was decided that the pending petition related to the Education scam will come up for hearing on January 4 next in the Supreme Court. Earlier, the case was listed for October 12, but it was deferred.
Again in July 2016, the much-awaited verdict on the criminal aspect of education scam was delayed further with Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari fixing the hearing of the case again on August 8.
It may be noted that right from the year 2013, the CBI's response was yet awaited in lieu of the pending documents that was alleged to be in CBI's custody.
Earlier, in a petition filed before the High Court, the petitioner, Agnes Kharshiing had said that the case at present is languishing with the state police and it seems that there is no intention on the part of the state agency to bring the investigation to an end, "because of the reason that the high profile politicians including the then education minister Ampareen Lyngdoh and the other officials are involved in the commission of the crime as indicated in the enquiry report of the CBI". As of July 19, 2016, the verdict on the criminal aspect of education scam was further delayed with the Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari fixing the hearing of the case again on August 8. As per the order, the senior counsel, VK Jindal appearing for the CBI on the matter was said to be not available.