Ending all speculation, the Supreme Court on Saturday declined to reschedule the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Preliminary examination, holding that no prejudice was likely to be caused to any particular class of aspirants. The exam is scheduled for Sunday.
Interestingly, a bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra also brought up the issue of judicial appointments while underlining that the UPSC exam pattern was a matter of government policy, framed after talking to experts. “Take the issue of appointment of judges. Debate and debate go on everywhere for too long but somebody has to decide finally. And it can be done even in one day. A decision is taken and everyone has to abide by it,” it said.
The bench, while hearing a petition by UPSC aspirant Angesh Kumar, said that it had to respect the decision by policy makers. “What do we postpone the exam for? It is exactly the same syllabus… What you were aggrieved about has already been deleted. Nine lakh students are ready to sit for the exam. Majority of them must have attended coaching classes too. We can’t postpone it,” it said.
The court also underlined that the main bone of contention in the petition related to the format of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), which had a separate section for the English comprehension test in the Preliminary examination. The plea alleged it was discriminatory towards non-urban and non-English-speaking candidates.
“You raised questions on the comprehension part, that has already been removed… There is no mark for comprehension anymore. We could have understood if the syllabus had been changed at the last moment but it remains what all the students prepared for,” the court said.
It said an exam pattern cannot be designed as per the whims of a candidate and that the criteria had to be decided by policy makers.
On the issue of UPSC not heeding recommendations of many panels on the CSAT, the court said it was ultimately for the minister and ministry concerned to take the call.
Kiran Bedi tried to establish her credentials as a secular, pro-women candidate.