Request To Relax “Upper Age Limit” For Odisha Judicial Services Stands Rejected: Odisha High Court

In the case of Pratap Kumar Bhuyan v. State of Odisha & Ors (W.P.(C) No.6900 of 2022), the Orissa High Court recently denied a writ petition that asked for a modification of the “upper age limit” of the Odisha Judicial Service. Based on OSJS and OJS Rules, a Division Bench composed of Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice Radha Krishna Pattanaik did not see it necessary to extend this exemption.

Brief Facts Of The Case: In a notification dated January 11, 2022, the General Administration Department of Odisha raised the maximum age requirement for recruitment to “civil posts” in the State Government from 32 to 38 years old. The petitioner’s counsel, Mr. S. Mohapatra, argued that the aforementioned Notification be ipso facto extended to the OJS as well.

Judgement: The Court began by noting that the Odisha Superior Judicial Service and Odisha Judicial Service Rules, 2007 (the “Rules”) govern recruitment to the OJS. Rule 18 of the aforementioned Rules establishes the maximum age requirement.

The argument that the aforementioned notice should ipso facto apply to OJS is unpersuasive, the court determined. It is due to the obvious reality that the OJS is not automatically subject to the rules governing recruitment to civil posts in the State Government. Additionally, Rule 47 outlines the steps to take in order to relax any of the rules’ provisions. It states that any provision of these rules may be relaxed with regard to any class or category of people or positions in the service by order, for reasons to be recorded in writing, if the Government, in conjunction with the High Court, is convinced that doing so is necessary or expedient. A cursory reading of the aforementioned paragraph makes it very evident that in order to relax any of the rules, the Government must first determine that doing so is necessary and then confer with the High Court. In the present instance, the Court discovered that it was never deemed necessary to grant the OJS such a relaxation.

The petition was thus dismissed by the Court, which saw nothing wrong with the Law Department’s decision to uphold its order rejecting the petitioner’s request for a relaxation of the maximum age restriction.



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