Ramakanta Biswas

In a major development, the Orissa High Court on Monday refused to entertain a batch of petitions filed by candidates alleging irregularities in the selection process of the Assistant Section Officer (ASO) examination.

Hearing the petitions, the HC directed the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) to publish the result of the recruitment examination as per the policy of 2016. 

The court has directed the government recruiting body to publish the marks of all the candidates who appeared in the examination. The OPSC has been told to release the marks after completion of the recruitment process.

Akshay Kumar Pandey, the counsel of the petitioners said, “On December 31, 2021, the OPSC published the advertisement to fill up 796 posts of ASO but did not specify the method or conditions of selection. On February 16, 2022, the OPSC issued a corrigendum based on its previous guidelines of September 3, 2016. In the corrigendum, the OPSC said the merit list will contain the caste, gender, name and roll number of candidates but the marks secured by them will not be discussed.”

“We alleged before the court that it was done to facilitate some candidates in the examination and that the OPSC does not maintain transparency in the recruitment process,” Pandey said.

Pandey said the court after hearing the arguments acknowledged that the corrigendum issued by the OPSC on February 16, 2022 is not right as per law. The court ordered preparation of merit list as per the guidelines of September 3, 2016.

The court further said that the OPSC may take the merit list already released by it but has to publish details regarding marks secured by candidates, cut off marks which the court felt that would bring transparency in the recruitment process.

The ASO exam was conducted by OPSC to fill up 796 (265 women) posts under the Odisha Secretariat Service and the result was published November 7. As many as 1104 candidates have cleared the written examination and shortlisted for document verification and skill test.

However, many aspirants alleged irregularities in the selection process. They even alleged that each post has been sold off for Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh.

Later, the OPSC authorities released a statement terming all the allegations made by the aspirants as baseless and false.

“The allegations by certain candidates in the mainstream and social media that candidates who were absent have been selected are baseless and false. OPSC follows a fair and transparent policy in the selection of candidates. This is being followed in letter and spirit in all examinations including ASO recruitment,” the OPSC said.

Reported by Gautam Panda, OTV