Centre informs Supreme Court it is against giving UPSC aspirants another chance

UPSC Headquarters in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Friday that it was not agreeable to give Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) aspirants, whose preparations for the October 4 prelims were severely restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a second crack at the exams for the elite civil services.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju said he received information late on January 21 about the government’s unwillingness.

The court asked Mr. Raju to put the submission on record in an affidavit. The case is scheduled again for January 25.

In previous hearings, the government had been telling the court that a decision to grant another chance for UPSC aspirants was under active consideration.

The hearing is based on a petition filed by several UPSC aspirants who had appeared in the UPSC prelims on October 4, 2020.

They had sought a second shot at the exams in view of “inevitable circumstances” suffered by them due to COVID-19 pandemic, which prevailed in the entire country during the crucial period of their preparation and even on the date of examination.

They said that some of them were even rendering services as corona warriors, while others were dealing with infection in the family, physical and mental trauma and even lack of minimal proper infrastructure to prepare for the examinations and loss of income, making it difficult to even survive during the pandemic.

Also read: How to prepare for the UPSC Prelims 2021

The petitioners had especially highlighted the plight of those among them whose last chance was on October 4.

“During this pandemic, while everyone had a choice to save their attempt by leaving the exam in 2020, while taking care of their health, the last attempters were given no choice at all and had to sit for the exam, despite the lack of opportunity to prepare,” the petitioners pointed out.

On December 18, they argued for a second opportunity and corresponding age relaxation.

The Department of Personnel and Training, on October 26, even informed the Supreme Court that the government was considering giving last-chance candidates another shot at the exam.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the government, had, at the time, submitted that the issue was not adversarial and a decision would be taken in weeks.

The government had referred to a September 30 order of the top court in this regard in the case of Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash versus UPSC.

In September, the court refused to postpone the October prelims but recorded the government’s assurance to take an expeditious decision on granting a second chance for “last-attempters”.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 9:42:30 AM |

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