UPSC Prelims 2020: SC to hear plea for postponing exam

NEW DELHI: During the pandemic, all roads for candidates seeking postponement of examinations leads to the Supreme Court, which on Thursday scheduled hearing on a PIL seeking deferment of Civil Services (Prelim) examination to be held on October 4.

The SC has already dealt with similar pleas seeking postponement of various examinations — National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (UG), JEE (Main), final year college, CBSE board and chartered accountants — in the past few months. In all cases, the SC had satisfied itself about safety measures taken to minimise spread of Covid-19 infection among candidates and had allowed the examinations to go on.

In case of final year examinations, states had said they would not conduct tests and declare candidates passed based on their past performance. But the University Grants Commission said it would not recognise degrees given to students without appearing in final examinations.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had said the UGC was the final authority on conduct of exams and, hence, states could not say they would award degrees to students without final year examinations. However, it had said that states, under the Disaster Management Act, had the power to postpone final year examinations beyond the September 30 deadline set by UGC owing to the health emergency.

However, another bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had refused to intervene in conduct of NEET (UG) and JEE (Main) examinations but saw to it that the authorities ensured proper safeguards. The SC had said the pandemic was a reality but life must go on. Six states had come together to file a petition seeking review of the order and sought a stay on these two exams but the SC had summarily dismissed the review plea.

The bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna too has dealt with the issue relating to postponement of chartered accountants examination and refused relief. The same bench on Thursday dealt with the petition filed by V G Sai Prakash seeking postponement of UPSC (Prelim) examination.

The bench asked the petitioner to serve an advance copy of the petition to the UPSC counsel as well as the standing counsel for the Union government and posted the matter for hearing on September 28. The petitioner has sought quashing of the examination scheduled for October 4 citing difficulties posed by the pandemic and natural calamities.

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