RACHNA & ORS
UNION OF INDIA
W.P. (Civil) No. 1410 of 2020, Decided on Feburary 24, 2021
Judges: A.M.KHANWILKAR, INDU MALHOTRA & AJAY RASTOGI, JJ.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UPSC exams were postponed to October 4th, 2020. Many aspirants objected, and thus, UPSC allowed revising their choice of examination center or withdraw their application. Meanwhile, several pleas were filed seeking postponement of the examination and for relaxation in the upper age limit and an additional attempt. The Court did not issue any directions to UPSC but said that the authorities could explore the possibility. On February 5th, a decision was taken by the Centre wherein it agreed to give one time-restricted relaxation, limited to CSE 2021 to only those candidates who appeared in Examination 2020 as their last permissible attempt and otherwise are not age-barred from appearing in CSE 2021.
Whether the Petitioners are entitled to an additional chance for CSE 2021 on account of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic?
The Supreme Court held that the provision of additional attempts is not permissible under the scheme of rules framed for Civil Services Examination. The Court observed that the petitioner’s claims are a lame excuse under the guise of the pandemic to gain an additional attempt in the future CSE examinations.
The Supreme Court refering to Rule 4 and Rule 6 of the Rules for Competitive Examination, 2020 prescribing the eligibility about the number of attempts and age. Rule 6 categorically states that the prescribed age-limits cannot be relaxed in any situation. The Court held that all aspirants, irrespective of the attempts, should be subjected to the same consequences arising due to the pandemic. The Centre should not give concession not envisaged in the Rules.
Regarding the petitioners’ claim that the Respondents have exercised discretion in earlier selections, the Court observed that there is no substance in the claim. The Court has held that while it is within the executive’s realm to take a policy decision based on the prevailing circumstances but it is not within the domain of the Courts to legislate.