Not possible to defer Civil Services exam, UPSC tells Supreme Court

New Delhi, September 28

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) — which conducts the prestigious Civil Services Examinations for selection of IAS, IPS, IFS and allied central services — on Monday told the Supreme Court that it’s not possible to defer the examinations any further.

“It’s not possible to defer Civil Services Exams,’ the counsel for UPSC told a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar.

The Commission’s advocate sought to highlight the fact that the Civil Services Exams had already been delayed by several months and the Preliminary Examination was scheduled to be held on October 4.

Asking the UPSC to file an affidavit, the top court posted the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.

Amid growing number of COVID19 cases, a group of 20 students had moved the Supreme Court last week seeking postponement of Civil Services Examinations 2020 by two-three months.

The seven-hour-long offline Civil Services Preliminary Exam 2020 on October 4 was expected to be taken by approximately six lakh aspirants at test centres spread over 72 cities across India.

“Conducting the aforesaid examination across India at such perilous time is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students (including Petitioners herein) at utmost risk and danger of disease and death, the petition filed by Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash and 19 other civil services aspirants submitted.

On September 24, the top court had given liberty to the petitioners serve a copy of the petition to the UPSC counsel and had posted the matter for further hearing on September 28.

The petitioners contended the UPSC’s decision to conduct the exam in accordance with the revised calendar, violated their rights under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution to practise their chosen profession/occupation of serving the public.

Natural calamities such as flood, incessant rain and landslides were likely to directly affect the life and health of petitioners and many similarly situated students, they said seeking postponement of the exam by two-three months.

Being a recruitment examination, Civil Services Exam was altogether different from an academic exam and in the event of its postponement, there would not be any question of delay or loss of any academic session, they have submitted.

“Hence, the impugned Revised Calendar is utterly arbitrary, unreasonable, whimsical and patently violative of the “Right to Health” and “Right to Life” of the Petitioners herein and lakhs of similarly situated students, under Article 21,” the petitioners have contended.

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