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[Civil Service Exams Centres In Containment Zones] 'Candidates Not Be Stopped From Reaching Their Centres', Delhi HC Directs UPSC To Request Authorities [Read Order]

Sparsh Upadhyay
2 Oct 2020 12:22 PM GMT
[Civil Service Exams Centres In Containment Zones] Candidates Not Be Stopped From Reaching Their Centres, Delhi HC Directs UPSC To Request Authorities [Read Order]
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday (01st September) directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to immediately issue a communication to the Chief Secretary, GNCTD and the Commissioner of Police notifying them of the examinations being conducted on 4th October 2020.The Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh also directed the UPSC to request the Chief Secretary, GNCTD and the Commissioner...

The Delhi High Court on Thursday (01st September) directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to immediately issue a communication to the Chief Secretary, GNCTD and the Commissioner of Police notifying them of the examinations being conducted on 4th October 2020.

The Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh also directed the UPSC to request the Chief Secretary, GNCTD and the Commissioner of Police to issue proper directions to the authorities concerned including the police officials to ensure that candidates who possess admit cards for appearing in the examination are not stopped or obstructed in any manner from reaching their centres, even if the same are located in containment zones.

The matter before the Court

The present petition was listed on urgent mentioning. It related to the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination scheduled to be held on 4th October, 2020. The grievances of the Petitioners were two-fold.

1. In Delhi more than 100 candidates are being permitted to take the examination from a single centre; and

2. Some of the centres are located in containment zones.

Arguments of the Petitioners

Counsel Ashutosh Ghade, appearing for the Petitioners submits that for a total of 71,378 students, there are only 150 sub-centres in Delhi, which would mean at least 475 candidates would be taking the examination in each centre.

This, according to him, would be violative of the Ministry of Home Affairs' (hereinafter, "MHA") orders dated 29th August, 2020 and 30th September, 2020 and the social distancing norms.

He, further submitted that there is a difficulty for the candidates in accessing the centres in the containment zones.

Arguments put forth by the UPSC

Counsel Naresh Kaushik, appearing for the UPSC submitted that a detailed order has been passed by the Supreme Court on 30th September, 2020 in Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash & Ors. v. UPSC & Ors. [W.P.(C) 1012/2020], in which all the issues raised in the present petition have been taken care of.

He, however, submitted that since this is a petition concerning Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the maintainability of the writ petition is not being challenged by him.

Court's Decision

The Court acknowledged the fact that the Supreme Court in the matter of Vasireddy (supra) dealt in detail with all the arrangements to be made and conditions that are to be satisfied in respect of the examination scheduled to be held on 4th October, 2020.

Insofar as the number of candidates in each centre was concerned, the Court opined that the conduct of an examination may not strictly constitute a social or religious congregation.

The Court further noted that examinations are already being held across the country by various universities, State Boards and the Central Board/s. While holding examinations, social distancing has to be maintained in the seating arrangement for the candidates, masks must be worn and provision of sanitizers etc. must be made.

"So long as these precautions are being taken and the SOP is followed, examinations have been permitted to be held", the High Court noted.

Lastly, the Court directed the UPSC to immediately issue a communication to the Chief Secretary, GNCTD and the Commissioner of Police notifying them of the examinations being conducted on 4th October 2020.

The Court further directed,

"The said communication shall also request that proper directions are issued to the authorities concerned including the police officials to ensure that candidates who possess admit cards for appearing in the examination are not stopped or obstructed in any manner from reaching their centres, even if the same are located in containment zones."

The Writ Petition was disposed of with the above observations. All pending applications were also disposed of. It was made clear by the Court that the UPSC shall be bound by the statement made on its behalf in the Court.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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