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Vikash Sharma

The Orissa High Court has on Tuesday quashed the 2014 State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) order that had declared the appointment of 378 Odisha Civil Service (OCS) recruits as null and void.

Setting aside the order, the HC ruled the appointment as valid. " The Hon'ble HC ruled that there has been no violation of Article 14 and 16 of the constitution in the matter. Equal treatment was given to both qualified and non-qualified candidates," said OPSC Advocate, Pradipta Mohanty.

Earlier, the SAT had nullified the appointment of the officials, who were given appointments in 2010 on the basis of an Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) advertisement published way back in 2006. The SAT struck the appointment notice on the ground that after recruiting 378 candidates in Class-II posts, they were promoted to Class-I posts.

The notice was challenged in SAT by an aspirant, and the tribunal had ruled in the appellant's favour.

Why SAT Struck OPSC Appointment?

As per the DOPT (department of personnel and training) rules, there are two types of appointments - direct and promotion.

Article 309 of the constitution guides the conditions of recruitment. The Article has clearly stated that appropriate legislature (State govt here) should specify rules of direct and promotion recruitment.

For promotion, a specified length of service be fixed. Since the 2010 recruits were Class-II appointees and were promoted to Class-I, the SAT declared it null and void.

Why Did HC Set Aside SAT Order?

As the petition was filed by an aspirant, the HC invoked Article 16 of the Constitution that guarantees rights of equal opportunity in matters of public employment. Art 16 (2) states that "No citizen shall on any ground ranging from religion, caste, creed, sex to place of birth etc be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.

Since the petitioner was an aspirant, the Orissa HC observed that the appointment in no way discriminated the appellant. The final High Court verdict has come as a relief for 378 officers who were appointed in Odisha Administrative Services (OAS) and Odisha Financial Services (OFC) based on the recommendation of the OPSC.

As per OPSC lawyer, the appointment of these officials is valid as per the High Court unless it is challenged in Supreme Court or any stay order is passed thereupon.

(Edited By Sanjeev Patro)

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