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Civil Services Exams: SC Defers Hearing In Plea By Aspirants Whose Candidatures Were Cancelled Due To Non-Submission Of Educational Qualification Proof

Radhika Roy
13 July 2021 6:00 AM GMT
Civil Services Exams: SC Defers Hearing In Plea By Aspirants Whose Candidatures Were Cancelled Due To Non-Submission Of Educational Qualification Proof
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing pertaining to the petitions by civil services aspirants whose candidatures had been cancelled due to non-submission of educational qualification proof on the specified dated.A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar posted the matter on July 15. At the previous hearing, the Counsel for UPSC had submitted that a Counter-Affidavit had...

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing pertaining to the petitions by civil services aspirants whose candidatures had been cancelled due to non-submission of educational qualification proof on the specified dated.

A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar posted the  matter on July 15.

At the previous hearing, the Counsel for UPSC had submitted that a Counter-Affidavit had been filed, contending that "conditions of eligibility cannot be relaxed for certain individuals on different grounds" as the same would be contrary to the tenets of Article 14 and Article 16.

Therefore, the Commission had opposed the petitions filed by a few civil services aspirants whose candidatures were cancelled on the ground that they had not submitted requisite proof of educational qualification under Rule 7 and Rule 11 of the Civil Services Examination Rules, 2020.

BACKGROUND

The plea, filed through Advocate Tanya Shree, submits that the cancellation of the candidature via letter dated March 12, 2021, is "arbitrary, unreasonable and discriminates amongst the candidates similarly situated and therefore is in violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950".

As per facts in one case, as a result of the national lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, the final examination of the Petitioner's B.Tech course got delayed. The exam was conducted in the end of September 2020 and results were declared after November 2020. To appear for the UPSC Preliminary Exams in October 2020, the petitioner gave an undertaking that she would submit the documents as soon as results are declared. The petitioner was required to submit the proof of qualifying examination by November 11, 2020.

Since the results of her university were not announced by that time, the Petitioner made a request to the UPSC to allow her to take the Mains exams on an undertaking.

Her university results came on November 28, 2020 and she was declared pass. She was later issued a provisional certificate by the University. In January 2021, she appeared in the Mains exam.

However, the plea submits, that after appearing for Civil Services Mains Examination, she received a letter which cancelled her candidature on the ground that she had not submitted proof of requisite educational qualification.

"It is noteworthy that the Petitioner had given an undertaking to the Respondent No. 1 that she will submit proof of qualifying examination as soon as results are published. Consequently, she has provided Respondent No. 1 with her requisite degree certificates but the same have not been considered by Respondent No.1".

The plea goes on to contend that an original copy of the documents is required only when candidates appear for the Personality Test. Therefore, exclusion of the Petitioner without taking into consideration the fact that the result was declared after November 2020 "on account of unprecedented situation arising out of COVID-19, reeks of unreasonableness and is manifestly arbitrary, which results in denial of equal opportunity to the Petitioner in matters of public employment".

It is also contended that principle of estoppel would apply in the matter as the petitioner had been issued an admit card on the basis of the undertaking, and therefore, she could not be denied the right to be considered for the Personality Test.

In light of the above, the plea states that cancellation of the candidature would render the whole year of the petitioner a waste, due to no fault of hers, and denying her the right to be considered for Personality Test would amount to grave injustice.

The results of Mains Exams of petitioners are withheld.

Case Title: Deepak Yadav & Ors v. UPSC & Ors; Vaidehi Gupta v. UPSC & Ors.

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