Updated: February 9, 2021 9:38:31 am
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre whether it is open to giving a one-time age relaxation to UPSC civil service candidates who exhausted their last chance in October 2020 and had approached the court, seeking one more chance by saying that the pandemic had affected their preparations.
The bench is hearing a plea by some candidates 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 with “one extra attempt… in addition to number of permissible attempts, in view of innumerable, inevitable circumstances suffered by them due to Covid-19 pandemic”.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheswari told Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, who appeared for the Centre, that there was an “extraordinary situation” due to Covid-19 and the authority should not be rigid.
The ASG said that candidates who felt they could not prepare had the option to back out and such candidates were eligible for an extra chance. The petitioners, however, had chosen to appear, he pointed out, adding that the exams had been postponed and they had enough time to prepare.
Justice Khanwilkar said that if the age-relaxation is given, it is going to benefit only around 2,300 candidates. “You can always argue that it is a matter of policy. The point is that is there a way out? They (petitioners) have concern that some may be over age by 10-15 days. They are seeking a one-time relaxation on age bar,” the bench added.
The ASG said he would take instructions and get back to the court.
The bench will hear the matter again Tuesday.
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