Millennium Post

Top court asks UPSC to apprise of arrangements for Civil Services prelims

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday asked the UPSC to apprise it by tomorrow the "logistical arrangements" made for conducting civil services preliminary exams on October 4 in view of alarming spurt of COVID-19 cases as also floods in various parts of the country.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) opposed in the top Court a plea seeking postponement of the prelims amid the pandemic and the floods.

In a hearing conducted through video conferencing, a bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari asked the UPSC to file an affidavit by Tuesday. The bench will take up the plea for hearing on Wednesday "You file your affidavit tomorrow. Whatever logistical arrangements are there you put them in a short affidavit," the bench ordered.

The UPSC counsel said the Civil Services exams were fixed on May 31 and it was impossible to defer them again.

"This is an examination for the core services of the Government of India. Several candidates have already downloaded their e-admit card for the examination," the UPSC lawyer said.

The bench asked the UPSC to serve the copy of its affidavit to lawyer Alakh Alok Shrivastava, the counsel for the petitioner Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash and 19 other aspirants who have filed the petition for the postponement of the examination.

The top court had said earlier that it would take up on September 28 a plea seeking postponement of civil services 2020 examinations in view of alarming spurt of COVID-19 pandemic and floods.

It had granted the liberty to the petitioner to serve advance copy of the petition on the Standing Counsel for the UPSC as well as on the Standing Counsel for the Central Agency representing Union of India through email/

online. The petitioners have sought postponement of the Civil Services Exam for two to three months, so that the flood/ incessant rains recede and the COVID-19 curve flattens.

The plea submitted that the UPSC decision to conduct the exam in accordance with the impugned Revised Calendar, violates the rights of the petitioners and those similarly situated, under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution to practice their chosen profession/ occupation of serving the public.

According to the plea this 7-hour offline exam, will be taken by approximately six lakh aspirants at test centres in 72 cities.

Conducting the aforesaid examination across India at such perilous time, is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students (including Petitioners herein) at utmost risk and danger of disease and death. Also, the natural calamities like flood, incessant rain, landslides etc. are likely to directly affect the life and health of the Petitioners and many similarly situated students.

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