Centre informs Supreme Court about refusal to provide second chance to UPSC aspirants

Supreme court law insider in

Sreya Kanugula

The Supreme Court was informed about the Centre’s disagreeability to provide aspirants for the Union Public Services Commission with a second chance to crack the exams required to join the exclusive civil services.

The aspirants’ preparations were harshly restricted owing to the pandemic situation for the prelims on the 4th of October in 2020.

Mr S.V. Raju, the Additional Solicitor General appeared in front of a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar to inform the court of the government’s disagreeability after receiving information about it on the 21st of January.

The court requested submitting this response of the government on the record in the form of an affidavit to Mr Raju. The case had been scheduled again to be heard on the 25th of January.

The government was informing the court during former hearings held that they were still actively considering the decision to give a second chase to these UPSC aspirants.

The hearing was based upon a filed petition submitted by several UPSC exam aspirants who had previously appeared for the aforementioned services’ prelims on the 4th of October in 2020.

A second shot at these exams was being sought by them on the grounds of suffering from “inevitable circumstances” because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation that had been prevailing across the country since March 2020.

The situation hadn’t changed during their crucial preparation period or by the examination date.

The aspirants had stated that some were even working as corona front liners whereas others were suffering physically and mentally and from the trauma inflicted by the infection upon their families, income loss, as well as, from the lack of proper infrastructure required for the examination preparation.

All of these circumstances had made it difficult just for them to survive during this pandemic.

The plight of those whose last chance had been on the 4th of October was highlighted by the petitioners as well.

The petitioners had also pointed out that, “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 argument for a second shot at the exams and the age relaxation for the corresponding was also brought forth by them on the 18th of December in 2020.

On 26th November 2020, the department responsible for Personnel and Training had informed the Top Court that the central government was giving some consideration to the request of giving the last-chance candidates one more chance to write the exam.

Mr Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General had made the submission on behalf of the government that at that time, the issue wasn’t of adversarial nature and that the Centre’s decision would be given in a matter of weeks.

The government had made a reference to the Supreme Court’s September 30th order in the Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash versus UPSC case, with regards to this matter.

In September 2020, the SC had refused the request for postponement of the October prelims and instead had recorded the assurance given by the government on taking an expeditious decision on providing another chance to the UPSC “last-attempt” aspirants.

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