Impossible to put off Civil Services prelim exams, UPSC tells SC

UPSC says all arrangements already made even as the petitioner – a section of aspirants – asserts that candidates’ lives could be at risk amid the COVID crisis; next hearing on Sept 30

UPSC
The Supreme Court, on September 30 last year, had refused to postpone the UPSC civil services preliminary exam | Photo: iStock

The Union Public Service Commission on Monday (September 28) told the Supreme Court that it is impossible to defer the Civil Services Preliminary 2020 as all logistical arrangements have already been made.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar asked UPSC to put this stand in an affidavit along with the arrangements made. The matter will come up for hearing on Wednesday (September 30).

The top court was hearing a plea filed by some aspirants seeking the postponement of the preliminary examination 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Related news: UPSC notifies civil services, other exam dates for 2021

The UPSC civil services exam is scheduled for October 4.

“Conducting the exam at such a perilous time is nothing else but putting the lives of lakhs of young students at utmost risk and danger of disease and death. Also, the natural calamities like flood, incessant rain, landslides etc. are likely to directly affect the life and health of the petitioners and many similarly situated students,” the plea said.

“Hence, the impugned revised calendar is utterly arbitrary, unreasonable, whimsical and patently violative of the right to health and right to life of the petitioners and lakhs of similarly placed students, under Article 21,” the petition stated.

The plea also mentioned that the civil services exam, being a recruitment examination, is altogether different from an academic examination and in the event of its postponement, there would not be any question of delay or loss of any academic session.

In the last hearing, the top court had asked advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, appearing for the petitioners, to serve a copy of the petition on the UPSC and Centre.

Related news: UPSC exams do not want exams this year

Around 6 lakh aspirants are likely to appear in the UPSC Prelims, which will be conducted at various centres across 72 cities.

The exams were earlier scheduled for May 31, but were postponed due to COVID-19. On June 5, UPSC released the revised examination schedule, setting October 4 as the new date for holding the examination.

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