- Supreme Court has rejected plea seeking extra attempt for UPSC Civil Services Prelims 2021 aspirants
- The petitioners needed an extra chance because, due to the pandemic, they did not prepare adequately for the last year examination
- Aspirants would be allowed to appear for the examination only if they are not barred by age
The Supreme Court said today that no additional opportunity will be granted to aspirants of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) who exhausted their last attempt in October 2020, refusing a plea seeking another shot at the civil service review sighting the coronavirus pandemic and also wanting an age limit relaxation.
A panel of three judges said one word only – “dismissed” – and did not read the judgment further.
The government agreed to another shot at the examination for those whose last attempt was in 2020, but not the one-time relaxation of the age limit that the petition demanded.
The petitioners needed an additional opportunity because, due to the pandemic, they did not plan adequately for the last year test. They also wanted to give age-barred applicants another chance.
The Supreme Court took up the matter with the Centre on a petition requesting an additional opportunity to appear for government service in one of the most competitive examinations in the world.
The government was initially reluctant to encourage those who had exhausted their last chance to sit for a final time in the exams in 2020. Earlier this month, however, the Centre agreed to the step of the Supreme Court to verify if it was possible to offer one more chance if an applicant is qualified to take the exam within the age limit.
The top court then directed the Centre to accept a one-time age waiver as a qualification requirement for aspirants to the civil service for whom the 2020 exam was the final attempt. It was pointed out that there would be only 2,236 additional applicants if age limits were relaxed.
The court also added that it would be a one-time measure if this were to be granted and could not set a precedent for future cases.
The Centre did not consent to this, and all petitions were rejected today by the top court, even scrapping the last decision of a final review attempt.
The (preliminary) civil services examination was scheduled for May 31 last year and was finally conducted on October 4, after the UPSC advised the high court that the examinations could no longer be postponed.
Six attempts are stipulated for general candidates each year until the age of 32. OBC candidates have nine attempts for up to 35 years, while SC/ST candidates have unlimited attempts for up to 37 years.
Over 2,000 candidates who appeared last year were barred from age and would gain if an additional opportunity was granted this year to appear.
The UPSC conducts appointment exams for central government services. It appoints, among other roles, promotion, deputation and absorption officers and also frames and amends recruitment rules for various government services and posts.