Gopal Sankaranarayanan, senior advocate, who appeared for the petitioners told a bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar that two of the petitioners had appeared for a few exams before they tested positive for Covid-19, but couldn’t give the remaining ones. SC has allotted two weeks of time to UPSC to respond to the petition filed by the aspirants. The third petitioner couldn’t even write a single paper due to Covid positive.
Education Times, Kartikeya Sharma, the second petitioner who had his last attempt to clear the UPSC Mains, says, “An extra attempt for clearing UPSC Mains exam should be given to all those civil services aspirants who were unable to appear for the remaining or all the Main exam papers due to being tested Covid positive. I tested positive in the month of January due to which I couldn’t give my remaining papers for the Main exam. This has disrupted the preparation that I had put in during the last four years.”
“Many other aspirants at the centre too tested positive. One of my friends who also appeared for the exam told me that there had been instances where some aspirants had deliberately left their positive RT-PCR reports in their vehicles due to fear of not being permitted to appear for the exam. The central government had come out with a notification on January 6, 2022 which claimed that two separate rooms would be setup exclusively for those candidates who had cough, cold and fever, but when one of the co-aspirant went with his Covid positive RT-PCR report on January 7, 2022, he wasn’t allowed to appear for the exam,” informs Kartikeya.
Some aspirants even filed a petition in the Delhi High Court for postponing the Mains exam on January 5, 2022 in the wake of surge in Covid cases, but their plea for change of exams schedule was rejected, further adds Kartikeya.
Arjit Shukla, the lead petitioner who is demanding an extra attempt, says, “If we get a second attempt to clear the UPSC Mains, it will be a huge compensation to the loss that we have suffered due to being Covid positive at such a crucial juncture in our careers. Prior to testing positive for Covid, I wrote five papers of the Main exam, but couldn’t write the optional papers. When we contacted UPSC officials, they told us that Covid positive candidates would not be allowed to appear for the exam as there were no set guidelines.”
I left high salary job at Infosys in order to prepare for Civil Services and it is disheartening to face such a harsh reality of not being able to appear in the mains due to no fault of mine and the worst part is that this has happened to me during my last attempt, further adds Arjit.