Supreme Court has given its final verdict in connection to the appeal for granting a second attempt to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Prelims examination 2021. The court stated that no extra chance will be given to the UPSC candidates who had exhausted their last attempt in October 2020.
Three judge bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Indu Malhotra, and Justice Ajay Rastogi announced the verdict with just one word “dismissed”. The full copy of the judgment is yet to be made available.
The petitioners have approached the top court to grant them an extra attempt citing the problems caused by pandemic COVID-19. They had submitted that they failed to appear in the UPSC CSE Prelims 2020 due to the disruptions caused by Covid-19.
Earlier, the Centre government had offered to give an extra chance, subject to the age-bar. But the petitioners have contended for the age-relaxation as well.
“Relaxation, only to the extent of providing one extra attempt for Civil Service Examination (CSE), specifically limited to CSE-2021, may be granted to only those candidates who appeared for CSE-2020 as their last permissible attempt and are otherwise not age-barred from appearing in CSE-2021,” the central government submitted.
During the last hearings in the matter, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju submitted that the hardships due to pandemic affected everybody uniformly and if extra chance is given to last-attempt candidates, other candidates will also start demanding the same, leading to an “endless cycle”.
The Union Public Service Commission offers limited attempts for every candidate for the UPSC examination. For general category candidates, there are six attempts with an upper age limit of 32 years, OBC candidates have nine attempts with an upper age limit of 35 years, and for the SC/ST candidates, there are nine attempts with an upper age limit of 37 years.
Senior Advocates Shyam Divan, CU Singh, and PS Narasimha representing the petitioners, submitted that providing relaxation in the age bar would be arbitrary and unreasonable.
“Covid has drastically changed their position. The IAS aspirations will be totally done away with. They will now be completely excluded,” said advocate Narasimha.