2006 Odisha Civil Services Row: HC Declares Appointment Of 378 Officers As Valid

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday declared the appointment of 378 Odisha Civil Service officers ‘valid’ as it quashed an earlier decision of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

Reportedly, the Cuttack bench of the SAT had quashed the appointments of as many as 378 Odisha Civil Service (OCS) officials in 2014 declaring it as “illegal” and “void”.

On the basis of an Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) advertisement of 2006, as many as 73 OAS (class-I), 207 OFS (class-I), and 98 officers in other allied cadres as class-II officers were given appointments by the state government in June 2010.

However, some unsuccessful aspirants had challenged the appointments stating that the 2006-advertisement had invited applications from eligible candidates to fill up only class-II posts of different cadres having a basic salary of Rs 6,500.

But when appointments were made in 2010, some officers joined as class-I officers with a basic salary of Rs 15,600 and others as class-II officers with starting salary of Rs 9,300.

Refuting the petitioners’ contentions, the state government had argued before the Tribunal stating there was no wrong in giving appointments to OAS and OFS officers as class-I cadre as, during the runoff to recruitment, the cadres of OAS and OFS officers had changed from class-II to class-I.

However, the SAT quashed the appointments and directed the Government to invite fresh applications and conduct fresh examinations.

Challenging the decision of the SAT, the State Government, OPSC, and the selected officers knocked on the doors of the Orissa High Court following which the court put a stay on the SAT’s order.

The hearing on the case was held before the Durga Puja vacation and the decision was reserved. Today, a division bench of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice B. P. Routray quashed the SAT’s order and declared the appointments as valid.

Pradipta Mohanty, Advocate, Orissa HC