HC Relief: Doctor allowed to apply for Medical Officer post despite crossing age limit
Cuttack: In an interim relief to a 33-year-old doctor aspiring to secure the post of Medical Officer, the Odisha High Court has directed the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) to accept his application which stood against the prescribed 32 years as the maximum age limit to apply for the post.
The court also issued notices to OPSC to file a response in this regard.
This order came following a plea submitted by one Dr Debashis Mohapatra, who challenged the OPSC norm laying down 32 years as the upper age limit for appearing for the examination for the post of a Medical Officer (Assistant Surgeon).
The case erupted after an ad was circulated on November 13 by the OPSC for recruitment of medical officers (assistant surgeons) in Group A (junior branch) of the Odisha Medical and Health Services Cadre under the health and family welfare department.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the with as many as 3278 posts of assistant surgeons remaining vacant for a long time, the Odisha government had urged the state Public Service Commission to start the process of recruitment of doctors on a regular basis.
In a letter to the OPSC, Health and Family Welfare Secretary PK Meherda said that the posts should be filled up as per the provisions of Odisha Medical & Health Services Rule, 2017.
The state government had requested the Commission to conduct the recruitment test and communicate their recommendation in the matter for appointment of Medical Officers (Assistant Surgeons) on a regular basis against the 3278 vacancies.
The ad mentioned December 5 2019, as the last date for applying for the posts with the state government. Out of the total 3,278 posts, 1,358 have been left unreserved while 1092 are reserved for women, 1078 for ST, 709 for SC and 136 for SEBC candidates. The ad further stated that candidates in the age group of 21 years till 32 years with MBBS or an equivalent degree from Medical Council of India (MCI) recognized institutes were eligible to apply for the post.
However, the designated age limit fixed by the state government was challenged by the petitioner, who contended that the upper age limit has been put to question citing 26 instances related to central and state governments Group A (junior branch ) positions in which the maximum age limit fixed for applying was more than 32 and even in several cases more than 40.
Deliberating the case, Justice Biswanath Rath stated that if the petitioner submits an application, his candidature will be provisionally cleared subject to the final outcome of his petition. As per a recent media report in TOI, the court, its interim order directed the OPSC to consider the petitioner's application online and issued notices to the commission to furnish a response.