Additional probability to UPSC aspirants: SC takes exception to ‘routine affidavit’ filed by Centre

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28

Questioning the Centre for filing a “routine affidavit” without specifying the level at which the decision was taken, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to file a fresh affidavit with regard to not granting an extra chance to civil services aspirants who had missed their last attempt in 2020 exam during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a policy decision but the affidavit does not say anything at whose level this decision has been taken,” a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said, taking exception to the affidavit filed by an under-secretary.

“Allowing an extra attempt to civil services aspirants, who could not appear in their last chance in the 2020 examination conducted by the UPSC due to the COVID-19 situation, would create a ‘cascading effect’, detrimental to the overall functioning and level-playing field necessary for a public examination system,” the Centre had told the Supreme Court on Monday.

In an affidavit filed in the Apex Court, the Centre said such a decision in favour of the petitioners would seriously prejudice other candidates.

“Giving an additional attempt or relaxation in age for some candidates will amount to extending differential treatment to similarly placed aspirants at the examination,” the Centre told a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, which posted it for hearing on January 28.

Some candidates have moved the top court seeking one more chance to appear in the UPSC’s civil services examination to those aspirants who could not appear in their last attempt in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The UPSC had given an option to aspirants to change their centre for the exam to cater to candidates who would have moved to a different location owing to the pandemic.

It said a total of 4,86,952 candidates appeared in the October 4, 2020, examination and the UPSC had “left no stone unturned in their pursuit to accommodate for the means and interests of the candidates”, the Centre said.

It said the UPSC had already given extra time to the candidates by postponing the CS (Prelims) examination-2020 from May 31, 2020, to October 4, 2020, and that these conditions would have affected every candidate at the examination in a similar way.

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