30 Sep 2020: Supreme Court refuses to defer UPSC prelims exams
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to postpone the UPSC Prelims Examinations 2020, scheduled for October 4, amid the raging coronavirus pandemic, adding that aspirants appear for the test to become "civil servants and not students."
UPSC also didn't favor a deferment, arguing earlier that not holding the examination will cost the public exchequer nearly Rs. 50 crore.
Here are more details.
Plea: Some aspirants wanted exams to be pushed; SC disagreed
At least 20 civil service aspirants had approached the top court, seeking to defer the examination in view of the pandemic.
But the bench consisting of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari, didn't give in to the demands saying that UPSC has made elaborate arrangements for the test.
Fact: Come out of your comfort shell: SC advised aspirants
"Every year there are some issues. Like environmental issues etc., and this is not a case of students appearing, these are to be public servants and they should act like that. Come out of your shell and comfort zone," the bench said.
Attempt: Don't increase age limit but give relaxation: SC told Centre
Notably, despite not agreeing for a postponement, the top court gave a respite of sorts, asking the Centre to relax some rules.
"An extra attempt is sought for the ones who are taking the last attempt as they might not able to appear due to the pandemic," the bench said while adding that this needs to be done without extending the upper age limit.
Details: Petitioners spoke about level-playing field, suggested combining examinations
In their submission, the petitioners cited examples of states like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, that have deferred state-level public examination.
They also said frontline coronavirus warriors, like doctors and administrators, who would also sit for UPSC examination haven't been given any respite.
Further, they also suggested merging 2020 and 2021 prelims examinations, but the court denied it saying it will have a "cascading effect."
Request: Father of government official said coronavirus hindered son's preparations
Besides the primary plea, the father of a serving CAPF officer also approached the court.
He told SC his son wasn't able to prepare for UPSC as he was inundated with extra workload due to the pandemic.
Earlier, UPSC told that delaying the October 4 examination would result in the postponement of next year's prelims, scheduled for June 27, 2021, as well.
Guidelines: UPSC must not compromise on security, stressed SC
While giving the verdict, SC asked UPSC to issue a direction for states regarding lodging facilities. The aspirants should be allowed to stay in hotels near their centers by furnishing admit cards, SC said.
Saying that UPSC must adhere to MHA guidelines, the SC added it can issue supplementary rules as well.
Reportedly, nearly six lakh aspirants will take the examination across 72 cities.