Aspiring candidates of the UPSC who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are continuing to demonstrate in order to call for an additional attempt and age relaxation for the 2023 examination.

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Aspirants of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil service exams, who have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic, have come together to demand an additional attempt in the UPSC CSE 2023 exam. Numerous hopefuls were either unable to take the exam or were unable to pass due to the demise of a family member or getting the virus themselves.

In December 2022, a substantial crowd consisting of around 60-70 individuals aiming to take the UPSC exam, staged a demonstration to request an additional try in the civil services exam. However, the protest concluded after the protestors were apprehended by the police for their refusal to leave their spot and setting up tents and mattresses in front of the media. Later, these individuals were set free.

Due to the second wave of COVID-19, many applicants for the UPSC CSE 2020 exams were unable to take them. These candidates are now asking the government to extend them an additional attempt in the 2023 civil service exams and ease the upper UPSC age limit.

In March of 2022, the Supreme Court was presented with a petition from three individuals who had passed the UPSC 2021 preliminary exams, but were unable to take all of the main exam sections due to testing positive for COVID-19. These petitioners asked for an additional attempt to take the exams. In response to this, the court declared that it was not possible to modify the established rules regarding the number of attempts and the age limit for the CSE.

The centre had declared that any alteration in the age range and the number of attempts for UPSC CSE candidates (currently limited to 21 to 32 years with certain relaxations) would create a domino effect of similar requests from aspirants of different exams.

The Supreme Court recently informed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) that there is no policy in place to hold a re-sit examination if a candidate is unable to appear on the scheduled date due to illness or an accident. The petitioners argued that this ruling was unjust since they had not chosen to miss the test, but were instead compelled to do so in accordance with the COVID-19 regulations related to self-isolation. As a result, thousands of UPSC examinees have taken to the streets in protest in order to plead for their case to be heard.

Mayank Tewari

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