Bengal govt says it interviewed 875 candidates in a day for civic volunteers; HC left amazed

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Kolkata, May 17: Even as the exit polls predicted a victory for Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal in this year's Assembly election, her government faced flak from the high court for interviewing 875 candidates for civic volunteers' posts in a day.

On Monday, the Calcutta High Court took at jibe at the government's "efficiency", saying the "interviewers should have been judges and clear the backlogs of 2.2 lakh cases pending in the high court". The observation was made by Justice Sanjib Banerjee, who had earlier called the civic volunteer recruitment exercise in Bengal a "great scam", sought documents related to the interview by Tuesday (May 17). The court feared that if more time was given, chances of fabricating the documents could be high.

west bengal

The civic volunteers are recruited as part of appointing to the homeguards' posts.

After Tapan Mukherjee, the state counsel submitted an affidavit that 875 candidates were physically interviewed in a day, Justice Banerjee asked him: "Who took the interview? How many heads did he or she have? Give me their names. I will propose their names for HC judges' posts. With them at the helm, the case of pending cases can be easily solved."

He said a day has 1,440 minutes and if 875 people were indeed interviewed in it, he would like to have the interview registrar by Tuesday as any delay could lead to tampering with the documents.

A little more than 1.6 minutes would be allocated for each interview without a break, if 875 interviews are done in a day.

One of Mamata Banerjee's pet projects

The civic police volunteer force is a fast-track recruitment scheme that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee implemented soon after coming to power in 2011. The state government later acknowledged that it had recruited 1.3 lakh civic volunteers till October 2013 just on the basis of interviews, although physical and written tests are mandatory for the a job in the police force.

The appointments were reportedly made on the basis of interviews conducted by five police officers, including, additional superintendent of police (SP), deputy SP and three policemen from the local police station.

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