SC refuses to defer UPSC civil services preliminary exam

The Supreme Court today refused to postpone the civil services preliminary examination scheduled for tomorrow, saying the objections raised by students on comprehension part have been largely addressed and the exam can't be stayed at the last hour when nine lakh students are ready to appear.

In a special hearing arranged today, a bench of justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra dismissed the plea for a stay on the examination.

The bench heard the argument for around half-an-hour but did not agree with the contention of the petitioner that the examination procedure favoured students of science background.

"You raised only questions on comprehension part that has already been removed and the defect has been remedied," the apex court told the petitioner.

Nine lakh students are ready to appear in the exam and it cannot be postponed, the court said, while dismissing the plea of a civil services aspirant.

Notifying the new marking scheme for Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2014 in line with the government's decision not to count the marks for English comprehension section of Paper II for gradation, the UPSC has asked the examinees to leave the questions in this section unanswered as they would not be evaluated. The two-hour duration of the paper, however, would remain unchanged.

"The maximum marks for Paper II would be '200 minus the marks earmarked for the English language comprehension skills (Class X level)'," the UPSC said in a press release. The English comprehension skills section, with its 8-9 questions, carries 22.5 marks.

Advocate Ravindra S Garia and Vishal Sinha, appearing for the petitioner Angesh Kumar, submitted that the present pattern of examination is already skewed against the students from non-urban background and from humanities and non-engineering/ science/ management streams.

''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,'' it said, adding that these are academic issues which should be left to the government and expert bodies to decide.

The bench, however, observed that bright students opt for science and medicine stream and that may be reason why people from such stream do well in exams.

''Where do the most intelligent students go? The cream goes to science and medicine. So students from those stream score marks higher than the students from humanities background,'' the bench said, adding, ''No system is perfect''.

It also asked the petitioner why he approached the court so late.

''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,'' it said, adding, ''We find no merit in this petition and the same is accordingly dismissed''.