The Calcutta High Court on Monday declared as null and void the 2016 State Level Selection Test for recruitment in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools, ordering the cancellation of over 24,000 appointments made through it, Live Law reported.

The High Court order cancelled the panel created by the West Bengal School Service Commission to make the recruitments in the alleged cash-for-jobs recruitment scam. The petitioners in the case have alleged that jobs were given to candidates in return for money instead of candidates who had qualified in the recruitment process.

A division bench of Justices Debangsu Basak and Md Shabbar Rashidi on Monday passed the direction based on the findings of a re-evaluation of the Optical Mark Recognition sheets from the 2016 recruitment exam in the case.

The re-evaluation found that the selected teachers had been recruited against blank Optical Mark Recognition sheets, reported Live Law.

Over 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the exam for 24,640 vacant posts in 2016, PTI reported. According to the lawyer appearing for some of the petitioners, 25,753 appointment letters were issued against the vacancies.

The bench also directed that those teachers whose appointment had been rendered invalid will have to return the salary earned by them since their recruitment to the jurisdictional magistrate.

The High Court order has also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into the appointment process and submit a report in three months.

The bench also cancelled all recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff which took place through the West Bengal Central School Service Commission in 2016. It directed the commission to form a new panel by initiating a fresh recruitment process.