UPSC aspirants may get a second chance

Centre mulling plea from candidates unable to prepare due to pandemic

The government told the Supreme Court on Monday that a decision to grant another chance for UPSC aspirants, especially candidates whose last attempt at cracking the prelims expired in October 2020, is under “active consideration”.

A three-judge Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar adjourned the case to January 22.

The court was hearing a petition filed by 59 UPSC aspirants, represented by advocate Anushree Prashit Kapadia, who were either unable to attend the October prelims or handicapped in their preparations due to the pandemic and ensuing lockdown.

On December 18, they had argued for a second opportunity and corresponding age relaxation. They said their preparations were crippled by the lockdown and restrictions. Coaching centres were closed and study material was scarce. Many could not even attend the exam.

The Department of Personnel and Training had, on October 26, informed the Supreme Court that the government was considering giving last-chance candidates another shot at the exam.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the government, had submitted that the issue was not adversarial and a decision would be taken in weeks.

The government had referred to a September 30 order of the apex court in this regard in the case of Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash versus UPSC.

In September, the court had refused to postpone the October prelims but recorded the government’s assurance to take an expeditious decision on granting a second chance for “last-attempters”.

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