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Not in favour of granting relaxation in age limit for UPSC civil services aspirants: Govt to SC

Not in favour of granting relaxation in age limit for UPSC civil services aspirants: Govt to SC

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New Delhi [India], February 9 (ANI): The Centre on Tuesday opposed in the Supreme Court granting one-time relaxation on age limit to UPSC civil service aspirants who had exhausted their last attempt in 2020 exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar that it is against granting the last attempt to candidates who have exhausted their last attempt in 2020 as it would be discriminatory to other candidates.
The Centre said that the candidates would get one more chance this year provided they are not age barred.
The Bench, after hearing arguments from counsels appearing for candidates, Centre and UPSC reserved its order on a plea the seeking an extra attempt in the UPSC exams for those candidates who had their last attempt in the preliminary exam held in October 2020. It also sought an extra opportunity to students who could not appear for civil service exams due to COVID-19.
During the hearing, ASG Raju submitted before the apex court that the UPSC prelims are "not an exam which requires more than one month's preparation".
He said the demand for extra chance was unwarranted as candidates were given sufficient time to prepare for the examination in 2020.
"What should be the syllabi, age or number of attempts are all matters of governmental policy. Whether to grant relaxation for age or attempt is also a matter of policy. Interference can happen if the decision is non-informed, arbitrary or capricious," he told the apex court.
"This is not the exam where you prepare at the last minutes. People prepare for years together... My first offer remains," ASG further said, adding that initially the government was not willing to concede the extra chance and it was later done at the suggestion of the top court.
Last week, the Centre had said that it has agreed to give an extra chance to those candidates who had exhausted their last attempt in October 2020, however, the Centre's relaxation was subject to the condition that such candidates should not be age-barred.
The candidates who appeared for the Civil Service Examination (CSE)-2020 as their last permissible attempt will be allowed one more extra-attempt specifically limited to CSE-2021 "provide they are not otherwise age-barred from appearing in CSE-2021", the Centre has told the court.
It has further added that the relaxation for the candidates shall be a one-time relaxation only and shall apply only for appearing in CSE- 2021 and not be treated as a precedent, it added.
Today, senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for candidates, told the Bench that "I will just enumerate the difficulties. One of them is access to the material. The material available on the internet is not sufficient at all. Coaching classes were also not there and because of the pandemic, there was a disruption in their homes. Then many were frontline workers who had to be at the frontline, duty-bound both by law and their conscience. These are some of the circumstances as to why they weren't able to study."
Divan said the absence of libraries and study material during the pandemic has impacted the preparation of studies. "Need for access to materials in form of libraries, coaching institutes. It's not possible for an individual to go through all of this."
Earlier, the Bench had asked Centre and UPSC to explain why no extra attempt can be given to civil services aspirants when such relaxation has been extended earlier.
The Centre had earlier told the apex court that no extra attempt for UPSC will be given to students who had their last attempt in October and those who could not appear due to COVID-19.
Before that, the Court was informed that the proposal to give extra change to civil service aspirants affected by the COVID-19 is under active consideration by government and UPSC.
Petitioner had earlier submitted that the Court has directed the Centre to consider grant of an extra chance considering the difficulties of COVID-19.
On September 30, the Supreme Court had directed the Central government and the UPSC to consider granting an extra chance to candidates who otherwise have their last attempt in 2020, with the corresponding extension of the upper age-limit.
The Department of Personnel and Training on October 26 had informed the Supreme Court that the issue regarding grant of extra attempt to last chance candidates was under the consideration of the authorities. (ANI)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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