The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected to give directions to the Central Government and the Union Public Service Commission to give extra chances to civil service candidates who missed their last try in the October 2020 examination or who turned age-barred after 2020.
However, the Bench, which included Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna, allowed the candidates to file petitions with the relevant authorities, requesting an extra attempt.
In light of the COVID pandemic, the Bench encouraged the authorities to be lenient with the petition for an extra chance.
The petitioners had sought extra-attempt from the Court, citing the difficulties posed by the COVID pandemic last year.
While expressing sympathy with their situation, the Bench said that the Court cannot direct the grant of extra-chance. The Bench pointed out that in February 2021 a similar plea had been rejected in the case Rachna vs. UPSC.
The Court stated, “The petitioners made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade us that the petitioners are not covered by the Rachna judgement. According to them, the situation was forced and not a case of non-appearance by choice. Although we may have sympathy for the situation that has occurred, but issues raised are covered in Rachna.”
However, the Court added:
“The only liberty that can be given to the Petitioners and applicants is to make representation to the appropriate authority that may consider it and take a lenient way in light of the relevant situation and the time. We are not expressing any opinion regarding resolution”.
The order was issued while the Bench was dealing with the writ petitions of Abhishek Anand Sinha vs Union of India and Lavanya vs Union of India, as well as the several intervention applications filed in these petitions.
Senior Advocate Krishnan Venugopal, who represented some of the petitioners, contended that the Rachna case only dealt with applicants who took the exam in 2020, not those who were unable to take the exam owing to COVID-related issues and were thus age-barred for the 2021 exam.
The Bench, however, believed that the petitioners were essentially seeking a reversal of the Rachna decision, which was handed down by a bigger bench of three judges.
The Bench also said that it cannot make a distinction between those who appeared in the 2020 examination and could not appear in the same.