New Delhi : Centre in the Supreme Court has opposed a plea seeking extra attempt for candidates who could not appear in the Civil Services Mains exam due to COVID-19 infection, arguing that admitting it may lead to similar demands for other examinations conducted all over the country.
“It will also impinge on the chances of other candidates who are eligible as per the existing provisions because it will increase the number of candidates. It will also lead to similar demands by candidates of other examinations conducted all over the country,” the Centre said.
It said that the existing age criteria for the Civil Services exam is 21 to 32 years with relaxations for certain categories of candidates. “The permissible number of attempts is also six with relaxations for certain categories of candidates. Thus, the existing rules provide for fair opportunities to the aspirants even if one attempt is lost due to some exigencies,” the Centre added.
The Centre submitted that the views and stand of the Commission are also against the demands raised by the petitioners. “There is no merit in the case either in law or on facts and the said writ petition is liable to be dismissed,” the Centre said in Supreme Court.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has said if the Commission makes a provision for re-examination, then it will have cascading effects on the schedules of other ongoing examinations as well as others.
The UPSC has also submitted that accommodating such requests will lead to a chaotic situation where no examination can be completed on schedule. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the UPSC has opposed the plea seeking extra attempt, saying there’s no merit.
The Centre and UPSC reply came on a petition filed by the UPSC aspirants seeking extra attempts.
Countering the UPSC submission, the petitioners submitted that in the year 2014, the UPSC extended the additional attempts to those candidates who were aggrieved by the “sudden” change by the UPSC in the pattern and syllabus for the Civil Services Mains Examination, 2013.
The petitioners said that they are entitled to a compensatory attempt for their missed last attempt due to Covid-19.
The petition was filed by three UPSC aspirants through advocate Shashank Singh. The petitioner has urged to issue appropriate direction to UPSC to extend the benefit of additional/extra attempt and to make some arrangement for petitioner to appear in the rest of the papers which the petitioners could not give before the publication of the result of Civil Service Mains Examination 2021.
The petitioners said that they are UPSC aspirants who have cleared the UPSC-2021 Prelims Examination and were entitled to appear in the UPSC Mains Examination which was scheduled during 7-16 January 2022.
The petitioners claimed that they could not appear in the UPSC Mains Examination after becoming COVID-19 positive and also owing to the restrictions imposed under the strict quarantine guidelines of the Government. Also, there was the absence of any kind of policy of UPSC which could provide arrangements for such petitioners who were COVID-19 positive during the span of mains examination or before it.