The Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition seeking an extra chance in UPSC Civil Service Exams for the candidates who had exhausted their last attempt in October 2020.
The Supreme Court, in its verdict, said that it cannot legislate and hence refused to enter into the policy decisions of the Center. Interpreting current rules, SC opined that there is no scope for extra-chance even in the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
As the judgment of this case has now come, UPSC will release Civil Services Examination (CSE) 2021 notification soon. Aspirants interested to become IAS/IPS/IFS officers may start applying online for UPSC CSE 2021 as soon as the application window opens.
“Lame Excuse”: Supreme Court says No to extra chance in UPSC CSE
“The petitioner’s claim on COVID-19 pandemic is nothing but a lame excuse in taking additional attempt to participate in the exam,” the court said in its detailed verdict.
Currently, there are some restrictions on the number of times this exam can be taken, which again is different for different categories.
- The number of attempts for the IAS exam: General Category: 6 attempts till 32 years of age.
- The number of attempts for the IAS exam: OBC: 9 attempts till 35 years of age.
- The number of attempts for the IAS exam: SC/ST: unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.
NB: Physically Handicapped /disabled candidates belonging to the General category will get the benefit of 9 attempts till the age prescribed by UPSC – 42 years.
Present Eligibility Criteria for UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE)
The upper age limit is also calculated on the date Aug 1. This means if the candidate is appearing for 2021 prelims, he/she should be below the mentioned maximum limit by Aug 1, 2021. The upper age limit is fixed differently for different categories, which is given below.
- Upper age limit for General category: 32 years.
- Upper age limit for OBC: 35 years.
- Upper age limit for SC/ST: 37 Years.
- Upper age limit for Defense Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof: 35 years.
- Upper age limit for Ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service: 37 years.
- Upper age limit for blind, deaf-mute, and Orthopaedically handicapped persons (general category): 42 years.
Apart from the mentioned limits, OBC/ SC/ ST candidates will get the benefit of cumulative age relaxation. This means age relaxations get added in special cases, say, for example, if the person is OBC + Ex-servicemen, he will get an extension of 3 + 5 = 8 years, ie his upper age limit now stands at 40 years.
You can read more about the UPSC CSE eligibility criteria here.
No additional attempts allowed (even if within the age limit)
The Court noted that all candidates, irrespective of the nature of attempts, must have faced the same consequences as a result of the pandemic, and consequently, it would be advisable to avoid any concession that is not envisaged by the Rules.
No relaxation in the age-limit
Excerpts from the verdict: “We are also of the view that it is advisable to avoid this situation and any relaxation which is not permissible either in attempt or age under the scheme of Rules 2020 apart from being in contravention to the rules, it may be discriminatory and it is advisable not to exercise discretion in implementing what is being proposed by the 1st respondent in compliance of the order of this Court dated 30th September 2020”.