The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking another chance to take the Union Public Service Commission exams for candidates who had exhausted all their attempts in October last year, Live Law reported.

The writ petition was rejected by a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi. Justice Rastogi, however, appreciated the efforts made by advocate Anushree Prashit Kapadia, appearing for the petitioners. “You argued well,” the judge told the lawyer. “You were clear on facts.”

The petitioners had sought an extra chance to take the tests citing difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown that was imposed. The plea argued that the pandemic had affected students’ preparation, and demanded they be given another chance to appear for exam.

The government had initially objected to giving the candidates another chance, saying a relaxation in age or the number of attempts would “trigger a never-ending cycle of requests” for similar relief, with every candidate asking for an extra chance, reported The Hindu. The hardships during the pandemic, the Centre argued, was uniformly felt by all.

However, on February 5, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it was willing to give a “one-time, restricted relaxation” to those who appeared for their last attempt of the exam in October, provided the candidates have not crossed the age limit yet.

The petitioners had then demanded a relaxation in the age rules as well, Live Law reported. This prompted the government to revert to its initial position of not allowing any more attempts for the candidates. Thereafter, the bench decided to hear the case on merits.