Extra Chance For UPSC Civil Service Exam: “We Need Some Time To Discuss The Matter”: SG Tells Supreme Court

first_imgTop StoriesExtra Chance For UPSC Civil Service Exam: “We Need Some Time To Discuss The Matter”: SG Tells Supreme Court Radhika Roy1 Feb 2021 2:38 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Monday adjourned to Friday a plea seeking for an extra chance for Civil Service aspirants who had given their last attempt of the UPSC exam in October 2020.A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar took into consideration Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta’s request to adjourn the matter to later this week, and have accordingly listed the plea for hearing on the…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Monday adjourned to Friday a plea seeking for an extra chance for Civil Service aspirants who had given their last attempt of the UPSC exam in October 2020.A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar took into consideration Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta’s request to adjourn the matter to later this week, and have accordingly listed the plea for hearing on the coming Friday. COURTROOM EXCHANGE In today’s hearing, ASG SV Raju reiterated the Central Government’s stand that they were not agreeable to giving a one-time concession to the candidates who had not been able to prepare adequately on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Raju further submitted a chart to the Court which stipulated the details which had been sought by the Court at the previous hearing and, pertained to the number of times relaxation had been given in the past and how many candidates would come into the fray if such a relaxation was given. The Court was informed that in the years 1992 and 2015, a relaxation had been given due to pattern change in the examination. Additionally, there was no system of preliminary examination back then. To this, the Court asked Raju that if it would only benefit 2000 candidates or so, excluding those who had crossed the age-limit, why could a one-time relaxation not be given. Raju responded, “Their entire case is based on the fact that they could not prepare adequately because of the pandemic. Kindly look at the syllabus, time limit and paper. It consists of Paper 1 and Paper 2. Only 1 paper of 200 marks counts, the other one is a qualifying paper”. Before Raju could continue, the Bench requested the Petitioners to argue their case first. However, before Senior Advocate Shyam Divan could commence his submissions, the SG requested the Bench to adjourn the matter to later this week. “We need some time to discuss the matter. If you could consider adjourning it to Wednesday or Thursday…”, stated the SG. The Bench noted that the government could notify the rules by then, however, the SG assured the Court that the same would not happen. Accordingly, the matter will now be heard on Friday. BACKGROUND At the previous hearing, a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar posed two questions to the ASG and sought for the answers to the same by the coming Monday. First, how many candidates would come into the fray if one-time concession was given, and secondly, since the time the UPSC was constituted, how many times this relaxation had been given in the past.The Court also informed the ASG that it was not being asked that the age-limit would be increased and that the only request would be that a one-time concession would be given after exhausting of all attempts.Further instructions were given regarding not to precipitate the matter before Monday and for the new copy of the Counter-Affidavit to be provided to the Bench.On 25th January, the Department of Personnel and Training filed an Affidavit before the Supreme Court submitting that an extra chance would not be provided to candidates who had exhausted all their attempts at giving the UPSC examination. It was contended that provision of an extra chance would create a differential treatment.This was in departure from the previous submission of the Central Government stating that the issue was under “active consideration” and that the government was not adopting an adversarial stance.On 18th December, 2020, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, had submitted that the Centre was not taking an “adversarial stand” with respect to the plea for extra chance and that a decision in that regard was likely within three or four weeks. The rules might need amendment for granting extra chance, he added.On September 30, the Supreme Court had directed the Central Government and the Union Public Service Commission to consider granting an extra chance to candidates who otherwise have their last attempt in 2020, with corresponding extension of the upper age-limit.That direction was given by a Bench led by Justice Khanwilkar in the case Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash v UPSC while rejecting the petitioners’ plea to postpone the UPSC exams scheduled in October 2020 in view of the COVID19 pandemic.The Court directed the authorities to take a decision in that regard “expeditiously”.The relevant observations in the Court order are as follows:”The fourth point raised before us is that some of the candidates may be giving last attempt and also likely to become age-barred for the next examination, and if such candidates are unable to appear in the examination due to Covid-19 pandemic situation, it would cause great prejudice to them .In this regard, we have impressed upon Mr. S.V.Raju, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to explore the possibility of providing one more attempt to such candidates with corresponding extension of age limit. He has agreed to convey the sentiments of the Court to all concerned and to take a formal decision thereon expeditiously”.On October 26, the Department of Personnel and Training informed the Supreme Court that the issue regarding grant of extra attempt to last chance candidates was under the consideration of the authorities.Based on that submission, a Bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar disposed of another petition (Abhishek Anand Sinha v Union of India) observing that it was not appropriate for the Court to pass orders when the matter was under the consideration of the concerned authorities.”The issue raised in this Writ Petition is under consideration of the appropriate authority and in light of the observations made by this Court in order dated 30.09.2020 in Writ Petition(C) No. 1012 of 2020, needful is being done in the matter. As a result, it may not be appropriate to precipitate the matter further. We leave it to the competent authorities to assuage the grievance of the Petitioners, as brought before this Court in the present Writ Petition appropriately”, the Bench observed in the order.The present petition is filed as a sequel to the above proceedings seeking compensatory extra chance for civil service candidates.Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more