February 6, 2021 3:31:49 am
The Centre Friday informed the Supreme Court that it is willing to make a one-time relaxation in order to give an extra chance to civil services aspirants who had exhausted their last exam attempt in October amid the pandemic and are otherwise not age-barred.
“Relaxation, only to the extent of providing one extra attempt for Civil Service Examination (CSE), specifically limited to CSE-2021, may be granted to only those candidates who appeared for CSE-2020 as their last permissible attempt and are otherwise not age-barred from appearing in CSE-2021,” the Centre told a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar.
“This relaxation for the candidates and to the extent as prescribed above”, the note submitted by Additional Solicitor General S V Rajus said, “shall be a one-time relaxation only and shall apply only for appearing in CSE-2021 and shall not be treated as a precedent.”
The bench, which also has Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, is seized of 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…”.
The Centre had initially told the top court in an affidavit that it was not willing to accept the request as it could “have a cascading effect and create a ground for challenge by those who had appeared in the exams without raising any objections” and that “non-final attempt candidates, who undertook the examination this year without any murmur of discontent, would (be) disadvantageously placed in future examinations”.
The Supreme Court, however, pointed out that the affidavit did not state at which level the decision was taken. The government then said it would file a fresh affidavit.
In the note submitted Friday, the Centre said that the proposed relaxation “shall not create any vested right whatsoever or any other purported right on ground of parity or otherwise, in favour of any other set/class of candidates at any time in the future”.
“As per the suggestion of this court, the Union of India is agreeable for the following ex-gratia, one-time, restricted relaxation to be granted to the prospective candidates, subject to the same being part of a consent order, disposing off the petition,” it added.
The apex court has asked the petitioners to respond to the government proposal and fixed the matter for hearing next on February 8.
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