5 UPSC civil services aspirants back in race after SC makes an exception
Five civil services aspirants, disallowed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to appear for the interview-cum-personality test because they were late in submitting their graduation certificates, were granted a special relaxation by the Supreme Court on Friday which said it didn’t want them to suffer for no fault of theirs.
The aspirants - four of the five had approached the top court - told a two-judge bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna that they missed the November 11, 2020 deadline to submit their graduate certificate because their results were declared a month later due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The four aspirants told the court that their university examinations were conducted in August 2019 but the results came only in December 2020 due to the intervening Covid-19 pandemic. UPSC declined to accept the documents but allowed them to appear for the Mains examination held in January 2021 as they had cleared the preliminary screening testing held earlier.
Two months later, they were informed that their candidature was cancelled as the certificates were not filed on time.
UPSC told the court during arguments that it allowed 12 candidates (including the petitioners) who were similarly placed to take the Mains examination but only five cleared. Of them, four petitioned to the court.
The public services recruiter told the court that the commission was bound to act as per rules as the cut-off date to submit documents is sacrosanct.
The two-judge bench invoked the extraordinary powers vested in the Supreme Court under Article 142 that allows the court to pass any order necessary to do “complete justice” in any case but made it clear that this verdict should not be treated as a precedent.
“Considering the piquant situation due to Covid-19 and for reasons beyond their control in as much as the University could not declare results till December 2020, coupled with the fact that they were permitted to appear in the Mains examination, it will be inequitable at this stage to deny them the opportunity to continue with the UPSC examination,” the judges said.
The bench directed UPSC to consider even the fifth candidate who did not approach the court to face the interview board.