| Orissa High Court |
Cuttack, Aug. 4: The controversy over the Odisha government’s decision to keep around 55 per cent of the posts in reserved category during recruitment in the Odisha Civil Service has taken a new turn with Orissa High Court refusing to interfere in the process of adjudication by the State Administrative Tribunal.
The Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) had issued an advertisement on November 17, 2011, inviting applications for recruitment in 364 posts under the Category I and II of the Odisha Civil Service (OCS).
However, controversy sparked off when Manoj Panda challenged the advertisement before the State Administrative Tribunal as the OPSC had earmarked 202 posts for various reserved categories.
Panda sought quashing of the advertisement as more than 50 per cent posts were earmarked for reserved categories.
Acting on it, the State Administrative Tribunal in an interim order on December 16, 2011, said: “Selection procedure may continue but no appointment be made beyond 50 per cent of the posts so far as reserved candidates are concerned.”
While the case was pending before the tribunal, the Odisha government filed a petition in the high court seeking quashing of the order of the State Administrative Tribunal. The high court, however, expressed disinclination to interfere in the matter.
“The impugned order being interim, instead of interfering in the same, we direct the tribunal to dispose of the case within a period of two weeks if it has been finally heard,” the division bench of Justice B.P. Das and Justice B.K. Nayak said in its order last week.
The Odisha government’s contention is based on enforcement of the Orissa Reservation of Posts and Vacancies (For Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) Act, 2008, which provided 27 per cent reservation for candidates belonging to the socially and educationally backward classes.
As the Orissa Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Service (For Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Act, 1975, provided for 22.5 per cent reservation for ST and 16.25 per cent for SC candidates, earmarking 202 of the 364 OCS (Category I and II) posts for reserved candidates was not illegal, contended the Odisha government.
While 59 posts were reserved for scheduled caste (SC), 81 were reserved for scheduled tribe (ST). Another 62 posts were reserved for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.
The 364 posts included recruitment in the Odisha Administrative Service (30), Odisha Police Service (15), Odisha Co-Operative Service (10), Odisha Revenue Service (100) and Odisha Taxation and Accounts Service (209).
The OPSC had issued the advertisement on November 17, 2011, inviting applications by December 31, 2011.
More than 60,000 candidates had submitted application. But, the commission is yet to announce the date for the for OCS (Preliminary) Examination, 2011. The Odisha government had taken the plea that going ahead with the recruitment process was not possible as the petition on which the interim order was passed is still pending before the State Administrative Tribunal.