UPSC Exams – Extra Chance For Final Attempt Candidates Would Amount To Differential Treatment : Centre’s Affidavit In Supreme Court

first_imgTop StoriesUPSC Exams – Extra Chance For Final Attempt Candidates Would Amount To Differential Treatment : Centre’s Affidavit In Supreme Court Radhika Roy25 Jan 2021 8:32 AMShare This – xThe Department of Personnel and Training has filed an Affidavit before the Supreme Court submitting that an extra chance will not be provided to candidates who have exhausted all their attempts at giving the UPSC examination. The Counter-Affidavit has been filed in a plea seeking for an extra chance to be provided to those Civil Service aspirants who had given their final attempt…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 Department of Personnel and Training has filed an Affidavit before the Supreme Court submitting that an extra chance will not be provided to candidates who have exhausted all their attempts at giving the UPSC examination. The Counter-Affidavit has been filed in a plea seeking for an extra chance to be provided to those Civil Service aspirants who had given their final attempt in October 2020(Rachna v Union of India). At the hearing which took place on 22nd January, ASG SV Raju had informed a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar that the Central Government would not be providing an extra chance to the candidates and that he would file an Affidavit iterating the same. The instant Affidavit enlists reasons as to why the Central Government is not agreeable to providing an extra chance to the aspirants who have already exhausted their attempts. It makes the observation that the Petitioners approached the Supreme Court only after the results of the examination had been declared. “At the outset, it is curious to note that the Petitioners, who participated in the examination with open eyes, only approached this Hon’ble Court after the results of the examination were declared”. It is also submitted that the UPSC had made all the necessary arrangements to ensure that the conduct of the CS (Preliminary) Examination – 2020 took place in a safe and efficient manner, thereby adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols. Further, an option had also been given to the candidates to change their centre, so as to cater to those who had to move due to the pandemic. The Affidavit further states that the contention of the Petitioners that the pandemic hampered their preparation “does not hold weight as the UPSC had already given extra time to the candidates by postponing the CS (Preliminary) Examination-2020 from 31.05.2020 to 04.10.2020”. It has also been underlined that the conditions would have affected every candidate in a similar manner, “thus still maintaining a balance amongst all the candidates”. Additionally, it has been submitted in the Affidavit that giving an additional attempt or relaxation in age for some candidates “would amount to extending differential treatment to similarly placed candidates at the examination”. “It may be noted that providing an extra attempt could further have a cascading effect by creating a ground for challenge on part of those candidates who have already prepared for the CS (Preliminary) Examination-2020.” Therefore, as per the Affidavit, it would not only make the future examinations excessively competitive, but also create a cascading effect that would be detrimental to the overall functioning and level-playing field necessary to be provided in any public examination system. The Affidavit goes on to refer to the matter pertaining to NEET wherein the Supreme Court had stressed that if the Court could function in a safe and secure manner on a daily basis, then exams could also be conducted in a similar manner.”It is submitted that other non-final attempt candidates, who undertook the examination this year without anymurmur of discontent, would disadvantageously placed in future examinations if the relief as prayed for by the Petitioners is granted as it would enable vast number of experienced candidate [who have availed more time to prepare for the examination], to participate in the examination again thereby making the future examination excessively competitive. It is submitted that such other non-final attempt candidates would therefore have a legitimate grievance against such participation as their chances to be selected in such future examination would be seriously jeopardized. Further, it is submitted that such other non-final attempt candidates, may in the future seek exemption from the 2020 examination being counted as an attempt at all. Therefore, any relief tothe Petitioner, apart from being meritless, would also result seriously prejudicing other candidates in the future. It is therefore respectfully submitted that accommodating the present Petitioners would create a cascading effect detrimentalto the overall functioning and level playing field necessary to be provided in any public examination system”, the affidavit stated.In light of the above, the Affidavit has prayed for the dismissal of the plea. On Monday, when the case was taken up, the petitioners sought time to file rejoinder to the counter-affidavit of the Union. Accordingly, the case was adjourned to January 28. 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. Click Here To Download Affidavit[Read Affidavit] Next Storylast_img read more