UPSC prelims: govt. tells SC talks on for another chance to aspirants

 Petitioners say their preparations were crippled by lockdowns and restrictions.

The Union government told the Supreme Court on Friday that discussions were on for granting another chance for UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) aspirants, especially whose last attempt at cracking the prelims expired in October 2020.

“The Centre as well as the UPSC are taking decisions on a proposal to give one more opportunity to the affected students due to the pandemic,” a Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar remarked.



The court was hearing a petition filed by 59 aspirants, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Anushree Prashit Kapadia. They were either unable to attend the October prelims or handicapped in their preparations due to the pandemic and lockdowns.

They argued for a second opportunity and corresponding age relaxation. They said their preparations were crippled by lockdowns and restrictions. Coaching centres were closed and study material was scarce. Many could not even attend the exam.

On October 26, the Department of Personnel and Training informed the court that the government was considering giving last-chance candidates another shot at the exam.

‘Decision in 3 or 4 weeks’

On Friday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the issue was not adversarial and a decision would be taken on giving another opportunity in the next three or four weeks.

The government referred to the September 30 order of the court in this regard in the case of Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash versus UPSC.

In September, the court refused to postpone the October prelims but recorded the government’s assurance to take an expeditious decision on granting a second chance for “last-attempters”.

“Some of the candidates may be giving last attempt and also likely to become age-barred for the next examination, and if such candidates are unable to appear in the examination due to COVID-19 pandemic situation, it would cause great prejudice to them,” the September 30 order read.

The court then went on in the order to “impress” upon the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Personnel and Training to “explore the possibility of providing one more attempt to such candidates with corresponding extension of age limit”

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