SC refuses to postpone UPSC exam
The Supreme Court Saturday rejected a plea for the postponement of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) preliminary examination, scheduled for Aug 24, in the wake of the controversy over the aptitude test by aspirants from a Hindi background and the humanities stream.
A bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Arun Mishra dismissed a petition for the purpose, saying: "We find no merit in this petition and the same is accordingly dismissed."
The petitioner, Angesh Kumar, had sought direction to the department of personnel and training to "postpone date of Union Public Civil Services Examination which is scheduled to be held on Aug 24, 2014 for at least by two months".
Dismissing the petition, the court said: "Everything is same. Syllabus is same. Why do you need more time? Nine lakh students are ready to appear in the exam. What to do if one is not ready. All students applied in May and they have prepared for the exam."
Some of the aspirants had last month held protests to demand the scrapping of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), terming it discriminatory towards those from Hindi background.
Observing that the grievance of the petitioner has been addressed by the government, the court said: "Your difficulty has been removed so you are in better position. Your grievance has been decided in your favour. Merit cannot be assessed in your way."
The court told the petitioner's advocate Ravindra S. Garia that he has focused on the comprehension in the UPSC examination and the same has been addressed by permitting them to skip the questions in English comprehension section of the preliminary examination.
The court also clarified that matters relating to academics should be left to the government and expert bodies.
Observing that one could pick fault in every system as none is perfect and putting the students with science background on higher pedestal, the court said that the students with science background score higher marks than those who had opted for humanities.
"Bright students opt for science and medicine that may be the reason that they do well in examination. Cream (of students) goes to science and medicine that is why students from science and medicine stream score much higher than those who had opted for humanities," it said.
The court said this as Garia told the court that "the present pattern of examination is already skewed against the students from non urban background students from humanities and non engineering/science/management streams".
Secondly, the petitioner said on account of this skewed nature of the exams, a large section of the students were forced to agitate for their demands and lost a lot of precious time for preparation.
The petitioner said that despite assurances, the pleas for the extension of time for holding exams was not considered and this would adversely affect such students.
The petitioner described it as being contrary to guarantee of equality, non discrimination and equal opportunity in the matter of public employment guaranteed by the constitution's articles 14,15 and 16.
(Posted on 23-08-2014)