The ruling came in the case of Sanjeev Kumar Sahu, a high court lawyer who had applied for the post of assistant public prosecutor (Group-B) in the Odisha State Prosecution Service in response to an advertisement issued by the OPSC in July 2021. Sahu had appeared in the examination under NIOS and got a Odia certificate in 2018 after passing the CBSE Class X examination with Hindi as a subject.
He was allowed to take the written examination for assistant public prosecutor. After qualifying in the written exam, he was directed to appear for verification of his documents on February 10, 2022, but his candidature was rejected for not having a valid Odia certificate.
Subsequently, Sahu sought the HC’s intervention in the matter. Initially, on October 15, the HC had admitted the petition and ordered, “As an interim measure, it is directed that one post shall be kept vacant till the next date.”
While disposing of the petition on November 1, the single-judge bench of Justice Biraja Prasanna Satapathy ruled that the ground on which Sahu’s candidature was rejected is illegal.
Accordingly, Justice Satapathy directed OPSC to allow the petitioner to take the viva voce by the same board which had earlier conducted the test for other successful candidates.
He further directed for issuance of necessary order of appointment in the petitioner’s favour if he is found to have secured the marks obtained by the last candidate in the unreserved male category.
According to the petition, Sahu had secured 114.2 mark in the written exam while the last candidate in the unreserved/general category recommended by OPSC scored 116.4 marks in total in written test and interview.
The OPSC advertisement said that a candidate has to pass either middle school standard language test in Odia or the Class X examination conducted by the Board of Secondary Education, Odisha, or any other equivalent board with Odia as a subject. NIOS is an autonomous board under the ministry of education that provides education through distance learning up to pre-degree level. NIOS allows a student to enrol for a single subject in Class X and XII examinations and issues a marks statement to successful candidates.