High Court Greenlights OSEPA Merit List For Junior Teacher Recruitment In Odisha

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday upheld the merit list prepared by the Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) for the recruitment of junior teachers in primary and upper primary schools.

After hearing the case relating to alleged discrepancies in preparation of the merit list by the OSEPA, the High Court directed that the authorities can go ahead with recruitment of teachers on the basis of the prepared merit list.

A division bench of the HC modified the earlier order delivered by a single-judge bench after examining fresh information furnished by the state government and OSEPA authorities.

The High Court had in March this year 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.

After hearing pleas alleging irregularities in the recruitment process of junior teachers, the HC had rejected the merit list prepared by the OSEPA and directed the authorities to prepare a fresh merit list in accordance with the recruitment terms and guidelines.

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. They alleged that several candidates were affected by this.

In an interim order, single judge bench of Justice B P Satapathy on January 19 had allowed verification of the documents but barred OSEPA from final selection and appointment.

The petitioners had alleged that the state government’s claim about preparation of a district-wise and category-wise draft merit list was misleading as it still did not strictly follow the guidelines.

The state government counsel on the other hand had claimed that the merit list had been prepared as per guidelines as there is no bar on giving priority to merit over preference of district.

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