Top
Top Stories

[Breaking] UPSC Civil Service Examination Cannot Be Postponed, SC Directs UPSC To Consider An Extra Attempt To Last Chance Candidate

Radhika Roy
30 Sep 2020 8:16 AM GMT
[Breaking]  UPSC Civil Service Examination Cannot Be Postponed, SC Directs UPSC To Consider An Extra Attempt To Last Chance Candidate
x
SC directs UPSC to consider that aspirants who were on their last attempt would be given another chance, without extending the upper age-limit. 



The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea seeking for postponement of the Union Public Service Examination (UPSC) 2020 in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.The exam is scheduled for October 4, 2020. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari refused to postpone the examination and issued directions to UPSC as well as the Centre to consider that aspirants who were on...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea seeking for postponement of the Union Public Service Examination (UPSC) 2020 in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exam is scheduled for October 4, 2020. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari refused to postpone the examination and issued directions to UPSC as well as the Centre to consider that aspirants who were on their last attempt would be given another chance, with corresponding extension of upper age limit.

The Court directed the authorities to take a decision in that regard "expeditiously".

The relevant observations in the Court order are as follows :

"The fourth point raised before us is that some of the candidates may be giving last attempt and also likely to become age-barred for the next examination, and if such candidates are unable to appear in the examination due to Covid-19 pandemic situation, it would cause great prejudice to them.In this regard, we have impressed upon Mr. S.V.Raju, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry ofHealth and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to explore the possibility of providing one more attempt to such candidates with corresponding extension of age limit.He has agreed to convey the sentiments of the Court to all concerned and to take a formal decision thereon expeditiously"

The Court further noted that as exams had been conducted in the recent past, it was a testimony to the fact that the SOP was followed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in conducting these examinations.

Further, the lack of transport facilities across all States had been not substantiated by the Petitioners.

1. Amongst other directions, UPSC has been directed to issue directions to States to ensure that candidates with admit cards are admitted to hotels near the exam centres, as different States have different SOPs, including not permitting admission of persons coming from other States.

2. In view of the medical protocol issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Court has not granted permission to candidates who are COVID-19 positive to appear in the exams as doing the same may expose and endanger other candidates.

3. The Court has further directed MHA to issue supplementary guidelines to UPSC in case the latter fails to conform with the existing guidelines and there remains any lacunae. Further, not more than 100 students are to be accommodated in a single centre.

4. The Court has rejected the request of the Petitioners seeking for merger of the UPSC 2020 Prelims with UPSC 2021 Prelims as it may lead to a cascading effect on other examinations. With regard to an Application by the father of a Civil Services aspirant who is working under the Central Government and is a COVID warrior, the Court stated that the submission that the Intervenor had to work during the COVID period could not form the basis for displacing the arrangements that had been made by UPSC till now. On 24th September, a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna had posted the matter for 28th September, but had not issued notice.

The plea had been filed by 20 UPSC aspirants through Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava against conducting of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2020, on October 4. They had submitted that this 7 hours long Offline exam, which would be taken by approximately six lakh aspirants at test centres in 72 cities across India, is likely to be a big source of further spread of the Covid-19 virus.

It was therefore submitted that the Revised Calendar for UPSC exam was utterly arbitrary and patently violative of the Right to Health and Life of the aspirants, under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Petitioners had submitted that for fear of risk of illness or death, they may not be able to take the captioned examination. Thus, it was contended that the Revised Calendar violated their right to practice their chosen profession/occupation of serving the public, under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.

It was further contended that the Revised Calendar suffers from class-based discrimination and violated Article 14 of the Constitution, inasmuch as students belonging to the middle class and/or lower middle class will not be able to afford transport, accommodation, or other expenses to take the examination amid a pandemic. Furthermore, it violated Article 16 of the Constitution as it deprived many of the aspirants from equal opportunity in public employment.

The Petitioners therefore sought for postponement of the Civil Services Exam for 2 to 3 months, so that the flood/ incessant rains could go away, the COVID-19 curve may flatten and the State Governments, who are otherwise "admittedly unprepared" as of today, got more time to prepare themselves for implementation of SOPs of the said Exam.

It was highlighted that Civil Services Exam, being a recruitment examination, was altogether different from an academic examination and thus in the event of its postponement, there would not be any question of delay or loss of any academic session.

Other grounds taken by the Petitioners are listed below:

• Many Civil Services aspirants, who are already working as Frontline COVID Warriors in different hospitals and/or administrative departments. It would not only be difficult for them to leave their place of work and travel to their Examination Centres, but their absence at their workplace at such critical times may lead to immense suffering to the COVID patients and/or COVID management.

• In many of similar large-scale examinations conducted recently, virtually there were no SOPs followed, no social distancing maintained and every tall claim of the Respondents have virtually failed on ground.

• Due to lack of at least one examination centre in every district of India and due to the fact that many students have returned back from their place of study to their hometowns, today there are many students whose Examination Centres are 1000 KMs apart from their present place of residence.

• COVID-19 has been found to be airborne and in many cases it is asymptomatic. This is increasing the possibility of its spurt at the large gatherings of students/ their parents at the Exam Centre.

• Many districts/ municipal bodies are still imposing Complete Lockdown in their respective areas. Many big cities have several containment zones. Free movement of students is restricted in such areas, causing a lot of harassment.

• Students would be required to wear the masks for more than 7-8 hours on the date of examinations and thus would be forced to reduced oxygen level, resulting into slowed down brain function and thus it is even in the interest of justice to postpone these Exams in the interest of health of the students.

• Even as per the Unlock-4 Guidelines, all libraries, colleges, educational and coaching institutions are also closed and hence many of the aspirants have been deprived from adequate preparation of the said Exam.

Click here to read/download order



Next Story
Share it