The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it will not give an extra chance to candidates who have exhausted all their attempts at the Union Public Service Commission Examination in October 2020, Bar and Bench reported. Petitioners had argued that many candidates could not appear for the examination in October because of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and had sought another chance.

The UPSC limits the number of attempts for a candidate to appear in the civil services examination. General category aspirants have six attempts with an upper age limit of 32 years. Candidates belonging to the Other Backward Classes category can appear nine times till the age of 35. Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe aspirants have unlimited attempts with an upper age limit of 37.

During the hearing, the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari asked the Centre to file an affidavit on its stand and adjourned the matter for January 25.

The Centre’s submission was a departure from its earlier statement when it told the Supreme Court that it was considering giving an extra chance to civil service aspirants affected by the coronavirus. In its plea, the petitioners had said that many candidates were appearing for their last attempt this year in view of the age bar disqualification and thus, they were seeking the extra attempt for the UPSC Civil Services Prelims 2021. The candidates said they felt that their preparations were affected because of the pandemic.

On December 18, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta had said that the Centre was not taking an “adversarial stand” with respect to the plea for an extra chance, according to Live Law. Mehta had said that a decision was likely within three or four weeks and that the rules might need an amendment for granting an extra attempt.

On September 30, the court had asked the commission whether there were any plans for concessions for candidates who are on their last attempt or will cross the age limit.