Published: 06th January 2022
UPSC opposes plea in Delhi HC asking for exam postponement, says candidates can follow COVID protocols instead
The plea states that due to an imminent third wave of COVID-19, the petitioners are not just at the risk of getting infected but also risk losing out on their valuable attempt
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), on January 6, opposed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to postpone the Civil Services (Mains) Examination 2021 till the COVID-19 situation normalises. The UPSC stated that, instead, candidates can wear double masks and follow COVID-appropriate protocols instead.
Advocate Naresh Kaushik, appearing for the UPSC, told the court that there were 9 lakh students who would be writing the preliminary examination while only 9,000 will be appearing for the Mains. "Candidates have already downloaded their admit cards. From tomorrow the exam starts. Our supervisors have already reached the centres," the advocate submitted.
He said that a similar petition was rejected by the Supreme Court last year. Meanwhile, Advocate Anushree Kapadia, appearing for petitioners (candidates), submitted that they will have to take the risk of travelling; from hotels to centres to their hometowns. Pressing that the COVID variant Omicron is highly contagious, Kapadia said, "Tomorrow there are two papers for six hours. Candidates will have to sit for six hours in one examination room. Petitioners have already made representations to UPSC on which no steps were taken which is why the petition was filed yesterday. A press release was issued yesterday which had no mentions of SOP."
The petition has been filed by 19 candidates who have cleared their UPSC 2021 - Preliminary Examination and now have to appear for the Mains. The plea states that due to an imminent third wave of COVID-19, the petitioners are not just at the risk of getting infected but also risk losing out on their valuable attempt, which, for some candidates, is also their last attempt.
"...the Governments are themselves issuing strict advisories including weekend curfews, night curfews, shutdowns etc. in view of the situation/infection likely to get out of control at any point of time," the petition stated. The bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao, on January 6, said that it will take up the matter in detail later in the day.
The Mains Examination will start from January 7 and will go on till January 16. The centres allotted for the exam are mostly in metropolitan cities or state capitals, which are densely populated and where the number of COVID-19 infections is rising by the day in an unprecedented manner.