Supreme Court urges Centre to give UPSC aspirants one-time chance

3,300 last-chance candidates may be benefited

The Supreme Court on Monday urged the Centre to give a one-time concession to aspirants seeking another opportunity to take the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam after the government submitted that over 3,300 candidates may be benefited from the extra chance.

The aspirants are seeking an extra chance because their preparations for the October 4 prelims last year were hampered by the pandemic restrictions.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, for the government, said 3,863 candidates had made their last attempt at cracking the elite Civil Services exam on October 4. Of this, 555 had cleared the prelims. The remaining 3,308 would get the benefit of an extra chance.

Mr. Raju noted that rules were relaxed in 1992 and 2015 due to a pattern change in the examination.

“So, it had been done once before,” Justice Khanwilkar asked.

“But there was no system of preliminary examination…,” Mr. Raju replied.

“If it will benefit only about 3,300 students and some will be barred because of the age limit, then why not give a one-time relaxation? Only 2,000 candidates will benefit, without the age-limit barred candidates,” Justice Khanwilkar observed orally.

The court has been clear that it would not, for the time being, look into the case of candidates who have crossed the eligible age limit for taking the exam.

But the government seemed to express reluctance, following which the court decided to hear the petitions filed by the aspirants on merits.

The court, post-lunch, adjourned the hearing to Friday.

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