Odisha High Court Halts Controversial OPSC Merit List: Fresh Hearing Set for September

In a surprising turn of events, the Odisha High Court Halts Controversial OPSC Merit List and temporarily suspended a series of decisions made by a single judge regarding the merit list for the recruitment of assistant section officers (ASOs).

These decisions had been causing ripples since their issuance on May 19 and July 31, respectively. The merit list under scrutiny was designed for the selection of 796 ASOs for coveted Group B positions within the Odisha Secretariat Service.

The source of contention began when Kabita Jena and several others, all names on the November 7, 2022, merit list announced by the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC), filed a writ appeal. This appeal reached a two-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Subhasis Talapatra and Justice Savitri Ratho.

Delving into the intricate details, the bench expressed the necessity for swift resolution due to the complexity of the issue. They marked September 21 as the date for the decisive hearing, aiming to reach a conclusive verdict.

Adding to the suspense, the bench has temporarily suspended the effects of both the May 19 and July 31 judgments, maintaining that these rulings will remain inoperative until the resolution of the writ appeal.

The saga commenced with the OPSC-conducted written examination on August 27, 2022. An astounding 1,48,888 candidates partook in this evaluation. Subsequently, on November 7, 2022, OPSC revealed a merit list, which included 1,104 successful candidates, a number surpassing the initial 796 vacancies. This unusual step raised eyebrows.

The pivotal moment came with the May 19 judgment, sparked by a petition filed by Rajat Kumar Mishra and four others. These individuals, not part of the shortlisted candidates, contested the application of cut-off marks for various subjects in the preparation of the merit list following the written examination.

In a sweeping decision, Justice A K Mohapatra instructed OPSC to draft a fresh merit list based on candidates’ aggregate marks and release it within a two-month timeframe.

As the legal battle continues, all eyes are on the scheduled September 21 hearing. The outcome could potentially reshape the future of the recruitment process for ASOs, impacting the lives of hundreds seeking a coveted spot within the Odisha Secretariat Service.

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