TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the Centre and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Thursday regarding a petition filed by civil services aspirants, who seek postponement of examinations amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and floods in India.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna will hear the matter on September 28, as per a PTI report as the Supreme Court agreed to listen to the plea. 20 UPSC aspirants have filed the petition against the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, which will take place on October 4. They seek the postponement of the civil services 2020 examination for two to three months, citing incessant rains and flood situations in the country and the rising cases of Covid-19.
“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,” the plea stated, according to PTI.
The plea further said that since the civil services examinations deal with recruitment, there would not be any delay or loss of any academic progress. The petition urged for the postponement of the exam stating that many aspirants are facing ‘unimaginable hardship’ or ‘unsafe health conditions’. It also said that the conduct of the exam amid a dangerous public health crisis was a violation of the fundamental right to life of lakhs of aspirants.
About six lakh candidates will appear for these exams in 72 centres spread across the country. With the rate of infection rising, the exam would be a cause for further spread of the virus, they apprehended. Many students may opt to not take the exam for fear of contracting the virus. Thus, the fundamental right of students to fulfil their professional aspiration in civil services is being moved to the sidelines. The petition also accused exam authorities of violating the right to equality as aspirants from lower middle classes may not be able to afford the cost of transport, accommodation and other facilities to take the exam during the pandemic.
“Despite alarming spurt in Covid-19 pandemic, UPSC did not increase the number of Examination Centres, resulting into a situation where many candidates from rural areas will have to travel for around 300-400 Kilometres, to reach to their Examination Centres, and there will be a high probability of such aspirants getting affected while using public transportation for such travel,” the plea adds.
Sources: Hindustan Times, The Hindu