SC questions Centre affidavit in UPSC exam case

The Supreme Court Thursday conveyed its displeasure over an affidavit filed by a government Joint Secretary that opposed a plea seeking another chance for civil service aspirants who had exhausted their attempts in 2020, pointing out that it does not say at whose level the decision has been taken.

“This decision should have been taken at the highest level. It’s a policy decision and a one-time decision,” a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said, adding that the affidavit reads like a routine one.

“Is this the way to do this ? You should submit something that is presentable,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General S V Raju who appeared for the Centre. They asked him to file it properly and not under the authority of a Joint Secretary.

Explaining its stand against allowing one more chance to civil service aspirants who had exhausted their chances in October 2020, the Centre told the court in the affidavit that acceding to the request will have a cascading effect and create a ground for challenge by those who had appeared in the exams without raising any objections.

The top court was hearing a plea by some of those who had appeared for their last attempt in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2020 held on October 4.

They prayed for a direction to the Centre “to provide” them “one extra attempt…in addition to number of permissible attempts, in view of innumerable, inevitable circumstances suffered by them due to Covid-19 pandemic, which prevailed in the entire country during the crucial period of their preparation and even on the date of examination, including but not restricted to rendering services as corona warriors, Covid infection to family members, suffering trauma physical and mental, lack of minimal proper infrastructure to prepare for the examinations, loss of income making it difficult to even survive during the pandemic”.

The court will now hear the matter on Friday.

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