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Supreme Court adjourns hearing on plea by UPSC aspirants seeking another attempt to March 21

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The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned hearing till March 21 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.

Counsel for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan, informed the court that he had served an advance copy to the Respondents, as directed by the order dated February 28, 2022.

Advocate Naresh Kaushik, appearing on behalf of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), requested for grant of additional two weeks’ time to take instructions and place on record all aspects of the matter, as the issue involved was a complicated one.

Gopal Shankarnaryan- Even if the interviews are scheduled for April, two of the petitioners have missed out on two exams and others have missed all seven. If the court decides to accommodate the petitioners, there will be a little time before the interviews.

Khanwilkar- If they permit you to do that, they will permit you for the next examination.

Kaushik- They have asked for additional attempt also. We have to go by the rules and the Union of India (UoI) will also have to apply its mind.

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Khanwilkar- List on March 21. This present writ petition before the Supreme Court is in relation to UPSC aspirants who have cleared the UPSC-2021 Prelims Examination, and were entitled to appear in the UPSC Mains Examination, which was scheduled from January 7 to 16, 2022.

However, 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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