Civil services exams cannot be postponed, UPSC tells SC
The upcoming civil services examinations cannot be postponed in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) told the Supreme Court on Monday. The apex court was hearing a plea seeking the postponement of the civil services preliminary exams beyond the scheduled date of October 4. India has notably reported over 60 lakh COVID-19 cases. Here are more details.
Plea seeks to postpone exams till COVID-19 has subsided
A three-judge SC bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai, and Krishna Murari was hearing a plea seeking to quash the revised calendar issued by the UPSC, according to Bar & Bench. The plea, filed through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, sought the postponement of the exam by two or three months till the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
Plea cites risk of illness or death
In their plea, the petitioners stated that the decision to conduct the exam is violative of their rights under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution to practice their chosen profession/occupation of serving the public. The plea stated that the petitioners may not be able to attend the exam as scheduled on October 4, citing the risk of illness or death.
Underprivileged students will suffer most, argues plea
Further, the plea asserted that since it is a recruitment examination, there is no question of delay or loss of academic session. It said that if the exam is held as per schedule, underprivileged students will suffer the most. It also pointed out that states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have already canceled/indefinitely postponed their State Public Service Examinations due to COVID-19.
Impossible to postpone exams, says UPSC
However, the UPSC, represented by advocate Naresh Kaushik, told the court that it was "impossible" to postpone the exams. Kaushik said, "It is impossible to agree to petitioners. It was supposed to be held on September 30. Thereafter it was deferred to October 4. Deferment would nullify the objective of conducting the exam for four arms of government."
Court asks UPSC to file reply by tomorrow
The apex court has asked the UPSC to file its affidavit in response to the plea by Tuesday so that the case can again be taken up the day after on September 30, Bar & Bench reported.
According to the Union Health Ministry, as of 8 am on Monday, India reported a total of 60,74,703 COVID-19 cases with 82,170 fresh infections in the previous 24 hours. The total cases include 9,62,640 active infections while 50,16,521 patients have been cured or discharged. The death toll has risen to 95,542 with 1,039 more fatalities in the past 24 hours.