Press Trust of India

Postponement of UPSC exams: SC to take up plea on September 28

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday said it would take up on September 28 a plea seeking postponement of civil services 2020 examinations in view of alarming spurt of COVID-19 pandemic and floods.
Without issuing notice, a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna agreed to hear the matter and granted liberty to the petitioner to serve advance copy of the petition on the Standing Counsel for the Union Public Service Commission as well as on the Standing Counsel for the Central Agency representing Union of India through email/online.
Earlier in the day after the hearing, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, appearing for the petitioners, had told media that notices have been issued to respondents for their response.
Later in the day, the order was uploaded on the apex court website which made it clear that the judges have only agreed to hear the matter without issuing any notice.
The order said “liberty is granted to to serve advance copy on the Standing Counsel for the Union Public Service Commission as well as on the Standing Counsel for the Central Agency representing Union of India through email/online. Let the matter be listed on September 28.”
The petitioners have sought postponement of the Civil Services Exam for two to three months, so that the flood/ incessant rains go away and COVID-19 curve flattens.
The plea filed by Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash and others submitted that the decision of the UPSC to conduct the exam in accordance with the impugned Revised Calendar, violates the rights of the petitioners and those similarly situated, under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution to practice their chosen profession/occupation of serving the public.
The plea has been filed by 20 UPSC aspirants against conducting of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination on October 4.
According to the plea this seven hours long Offline exam, will be taken by approximately six lakh aspirants at test centres in 72 cities across the country.
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. Also, the natural calamities like flood, incessant rain, landslides etc. are likely to directly affect the life and health of the Petitioners and many similarly situated students.
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 petition stated.
The plea said the Civil Services Exam, being a recruitment examination, is altogether different from an academic examination and in the event of its postponement, there would not be any question of delay or loss of any academic session.
It said that due to non-availability of exam centres in their hometowns, many aspirants are facing unimaginable hardship due to non-availability of or unsafe health conditions in, the PG accommodation/ hostels/ hotels etc., where they are forced to stay with their family members, once they are travelling to an outstation Examination Centre.
Pertinently, despite alarming spurt in COVID-19 pandemic, UPSC did not increase the number of Examination Centres, resulting into a situation where many candidates from rural areas will be forced to travel for around 300-400 Kilometres, in order to reach to their Examination Centres and there will be high probability of such aspirants, getting affected while using public transportation for such travel, the plea said. (PTI)


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