New Delhi, September 28 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the UPSC as to why the Civil Services (Preliminary) examinations, scheduled on October 4, should not be postponed in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and heavy rain and floods in several parts of the country.
A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari asked the Union Public Service Commission counsel to file an affidavit by Tuesday.
The UPSC counsel objected to the plea for the deferment of the exams, as it would upset the schedule of the exams.
After a brief hearing on the matter, the bench asked the UPSC counsel to bring on record the reasons for not postponing the exams. The bench will continue to hear the matter on Wednesday.
The plea, filed by Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash and others through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, sought that the Civil Services exam should be postponed for two to three months, as Covid-19 cases have been peaking currently and the curve may flatten in this time period.
The petitioners also cited incessant rains disrupting daily life in many parts of the country.
In the earlier hearing on the matter, the top court had said: "Liberty is granted to serve advance copy on the Standing Counsel for the Union Public Service Commission as well as on the Standing Counsel for the Central Agency representing Union of India through email/online."
The plea contended that the exam, being a recruitment examination, is altogether different from an academic examination and thus in the event of its postponement, there would not be any question of delay or loss of any academic session.
"In the instant case, about 6 lakh aspirants (including the petitioners herein) are likely to appear in the captioned Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, which is a seven hours offline examination, in very few centres at 72 cities across India.
"Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases are increasing in India at an alarming rate of more than 80,000 cases per day," said the plea.
The plea argued that the worst affected by the conducting the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2020, on October 4, will be the students belonging to the middle class or lower middle class.
"The privileged may still appear in these exams, without worrying about transport, accommodation, or other expenses. However, the under-privileged students will be forced to suffer utmost injustice and deprivations," the petitioners contended.
The plea said the decision of the UPSC to conduct the exam, in this current scenario, violates the rights of the petitioners and those similarly situated, under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.