Written by: Parbat Singh
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav
The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied one more chance to UPSC aspirant who exhausted last attempt in 2020. While dismissing the plea, a three-judge Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra, and Ajay Rastogi said only one word – “dismissed” and did not read the judgment further. (Rachna & Ors v. Union of India)
The petitioners had given their last attempt in Civil Service Examination 2020 and sought an extra chance citing difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown.
Earlier this month, the Central Government had agreed to another chance at the examination for those whose last attempt was in 2020 but not the one-time relaxation on the age limit that the petitioner asked for. The note further stated that no relaxation shall be granted for CSE-2021 to those candidates who have not exhausted their permissible number of attempts or to those candidates who are otherwise age- barred from appearing in CSE- 2020 Senior Advocates Shyam Divan, CU Singh and PS Narasimha, appearing for the Petitioners, contended that not granting relaxation on the age limit would be arbitrary and unreasonable.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju objected to the demand for extending the extra attempt after last chance stating that hardships due to COVID – 19 has affected all candidates uniformly not only the last attempt candidates.
The Court dismissed the petition stating that “If an additional attempt remains restricted to the last attempters for the reason that they had suffered during COVID-19 pandemic, all attempters irrespective of the nature of attempt (i.e., 1st, 2nd, etc.) who appeared in Examination 2020 must have faced the same consequences as being faced by the writ petitioners and each one of them have suffered in one way or the other during the Covid19 pandemic. At the same time, this reasoning would equally apply to those who have crossed the upper age barrier.”