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UPSC Prelims 2020: Impossible to further defer exam, commission tells SC; matter to be heard on Sept 30

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it will be impossible to defer the civil services exam further. The matter will be next heard on Wednesday, September 30.

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The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Monday disagreed with the demand to defer UPSC Prelims exam slated to be held on October 4.

The Commission informed the Supreme Court that it is impossible to defer the Civil Services Preliminary 2020 as all arrangements have been made and the exam had already been postponed earlier, therefore, it won't be possible to postpone it again.

A 3-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar asked UPSC to put this stand in an affidavit. The matter will be next heard on Wednesday, September 30.

The petition seeks postponement of the Civil Services exam for 2-3 months in the wake of floods and rainfall in various parts of the country and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the apex court had issued notice to the Centre and UPSC on the plea filed by aspirants.

Listing the matter for hearing on September 28, a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna on Thursday had said, "Liberty is granted to serve an 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, filed by Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash and 19 other UPSC aspirants through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, sought that the Civil Services exam should be postponed for two to three months, as Covid-19 cases are 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.

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 7-hour 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 biggest sufferers of 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.

(With inputs from agencies)

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