Cuttack, May 3: Orissa High Court has issued a notice on a PIL seeking direction to the state government to fill up vacancies of members of the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC).
The OPSC’s staff strength is two instead of the sanctioned six, including a chairman and five members. Four posts have remained vacant for over two years. The PIL, filed by human rights activist advocate Prabir Kumar Das, contended that filling up of the vacancies was imperative to ensure smooth conduct of selection process to recruit for various state services.
“The state government does not fill up vacancies of the OPSC members…after the retirement of Anup Kumar Pattanaik as the chairman on July 12, 2013, the commission functioned with one member — Bijay Sankar Deo till the appointment of Ajit Kumar Patnaik as the chairman on April 16, 2014,” the petition alleged.
The division bench of Chief Justice A.K. Goel and Justice A.K. Rath yesterday adjourned the matter till the court’s summer vacation is over for hearing along with the government’s reply.
“The bench issued notices to the chief secretary and the special secretary (general administration department),” Das said. The court’s summer vacation is starting on May 17 and will continue till June 16.
The government’s “indifference and callousness” towards ensuring the OPSC to function as a full-fledged body with the sanctioned strength is “a matter of public concern”. Discharging of the commission’s functions is being affected, the petition alleged, expressing disappointment that a plea to the chief minister on March 15 had yielded no result.
The commission, besides conducting tests to recruit for various government services, discharged functions related to promotion, disciplinary proceedings and so on pertaining to the state civil servants.
It stated that the OPSC was saddled with the task conducting the Odisha Civil Services Examination, 2011, for recruitment of 494 posts in the Odisha Administrative Service, Odisha Finance Service, Odisha Revenue Service, Odisha Tax and Audit Service and so on.