Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha government has reportedly challenged the Orissa High Court’s rejection of the merit list prepared by the Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) for the recruitment of junior teachers in primary and upper primary schools across the State.

The next hearing of the case is on April 29.

Last month, the Orissa High Court had directed OSEPA to come up with a fresh draft merit list for appointment of over 18,000 junior teachers in primary schools (Class I to V) and upper primary schools (Class V to VIII) in the state.

The High Court, on January 31, had concluded the hearing on pleas alleging irregularities in the recruitment process of junior teachers and reserved its interim order.

OSEPA had published the draft merit list on January 15 for verification of documents on January 20 and 21 after conducting a computer- based test. A batch of petitions challenged the list on the ground that the School and Mass Education department’s August 22, 2023 guidelines on engagement of junior teachers provided for district-wise draft merit list, but OSEPA had published more of a state merit list without adhering to the procedure. Consequently, several candidates who could have figured in the district-wise list did not find place in it, they alleged.

Notably, a notification was issued on October 23, 2023, for the recruitment of around 20,000 junior teachers in Odisha. Later, some candidates moved the High Court alleging irregularities in the recruitment process.

Following an initial hearing on the petition on January 19, the single judge bench of Justice BP Satapathy had ordered the Odisha government to put on hold the final selection process and appointment of Junior Teachers till the next hearing.