The UPSC on Saturday told the Delhi High Court that it has a "limited mandate" in conducting the civil services exams and reserving seats for physically- handicapped persons, including visually-impaired ones, in them.
"The Commission has a limited mandate to conduct the examination as per the rules notified by the government and to obtain vacancy figures from the Cadre Controlling Authorities (CCA) including those earmarked for physically handicapped (PH) categories, to collate the information and proceed accordingly with conducting the examination process," the affidavit, filed by UPSC's Under Secretary Imran Farid, said.
The response of UPSC came on a PIL filed by NGO Sambhavana seeking quashing of the civil services examination notice of May 31 on the ground of non-compliance of one per cent quota for visually-impaired applicants.
Shifting the onus on the CCA, the UPSC said "the Commission obtains the vacancy figures meant for PH from the CCA of the services participating in the civil services examination and based on the information gathered, tentative indication is made in the examination notice." UPSC, however, said it ensures that the CCA furnish "their vacancy indents backed by necessary certificates about the compliance with the provisions contained under the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995."
The court has the fixed the matter for hearing tomorrow.
In the reply, the Commission said that it is beyond the rules of the civil service examination and the Centre's notification to provide extra facilities to visually-impaired applicants during the examination.
It said there is already a provision of "extra time of ten minutes per hour" to visually-impaired category candidates who will write answer sheets with the help of a scribe.
The NGO has also sought a direction to the Centre and UPSC for issuing a fresh vacancy notice by providing three per cent reservation for persons with disabilities to one per cent each of the categories recognized in Persons with Disabilities Act.