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Supreme Court adjourns hearing on plea seeking extra attempt for Civil Services exam due to Covid-19

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The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned its hearing till March 25 on a petition filed by three Civil Services aspirants, seeking an extra attempt at the Civil Services examination, claiming that they had to miss the Civil Services Mains exam because they had contracted Covid-19.

Today it was submitted by Advocate, Mr Naresh Kaushik appearing on behalf of UPSC that the counter will be by today itself.

The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar opined, the UPSC will only have to make a statement whether an opportunity be granted to petitioners or not. 

Ld. ASG, Ms Aishwarya Bhati submiited that there is no urgency in this matter as the UPSC results have already been declared and the only issue that remains to be decided is whether an extra attempt will be awarded or not. She further submitted that the call regarding extra attempt will have to be taken by the Department of Personnel and Training. 

Senior Advocate, Gopal Sankaranarayan argued that it is very wrong on the part of UPSC as they had sought time to reply and in between they have released the result thereby frustrating the rights of the petitioner for this time.  

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The Petitioner No. 1 and 2 had to leave after appearing for only two papers, whereas Petitioner No. 3 could not appear for any of the papers of the Mains Examination. The aforementioned Petitioners could not write the Mains Examination owing to the fact that they were Covid Positive and in accordance with the restrictions imposed by the Government under the strict quarantine guidelines, they were prevented from writing the Exam. It has been contended in the Writ Petition that there wasn’t any kind of policy of UPSC which could provide arrangements for Covid-Positive examinees. Additionally, it was contended that the 2022 Exams were the last or second-last attempts of the aforementioned Petitioners, owing to the age-bar.

The Petitioner had approached the Supreme Court seeking directions as against the Respondent-UPSC so that an additional attempt to appear in the Exam may be extended to the Petitioners or alternatively some arrangement be made to allow the Petitioners to appear for the remaining papers that they were unable to write.

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Further, it was contended that the lack of policies or arrangements thereof to accommodate Covid-Positive Examinees had violated the Petitioners’ fundamental rights under Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India, and thereby remedy is being sought under the auspice of Article 32 in this present writ petition before the Apex Court.

The Petitioners, in the writ petition, prayed that this Court may issue appropriate Writ/Order/Direction to the Respondent No. 2, i.e. the UPSC, to extend the benefit of additional/extra attempt to Petitioner Nos. 1 & 3 or issue appropriate Writ/Order/Direction to the aforementioned Respondent to make arrangements for the petitioners to appear in the rest of the papers which they were unable to write before the publication of the result of Civil Service Mains Examination 2021 or pass any further order/s as to this Court may appear fit and proper.

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