By LE Desk

Cuttack, June 12, 2021: The Orissa High Court has dismissed a petition filed by an IAS officer challenging the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)’s order rejecting his plea for change in his category to OBC after qualifying the Civil Service Examination (CSE) as a general category candidate.

Smruti Ranjan Mohanty was appointed as assistant magistrate and assistant collector in Bankura district of West Bengal on May 12, 2016 after qualifying in the exam and completing training. He joined the post on June 20, 2016.

Earlier, Mohanty had moved the UPSC and then Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to include him in the OBC category so that he could derive the benefit available to him in the matter of allocation to Odisha cadre. But his representations were rejected. 

The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice KR Mohapatra said the CAT has rightly noticed that there is a prescribed percentage of reservation for OBC, SC and ST, The New Indian Express reported.

The number of vacancies in each service for these categories is determined by the respective cadre controlling authorities taking the reservation percentage into account by use of a model roster maintained for the purpose. 

It is only keeping in view the complications that might arise if the candidates are freely permitted to change their categories after making their applications in a particular category that the CSE-2014 has prescribed a set of rules, the order said on Wednesday citing the CAT order.

The rules provided that if a candidate indicates in his/her application form for Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination that he/she belongs to general category but subsequently writes to the UPSC to change his/her category to a reserved one, such request shall not be entertained. 

Mohanty had indicated in the application form of CSE-2014 that he belonged to general category as he was not in possession of an OBC certificate and apprehensive that his candidature in that category might be rejected for that reason. He furnished the OBC certificate along with his representation on May 4, 2016.

The bench observed that, “If this was a case of the petitioner having correctly indicated in the form that he belonged to the OBC, and the issue was only about the delay if any in his submitting the supporting certificate, the issue might still be worth considering”, The New Indian Express reported.

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