'We Don't Expect You To Be Rigid' : Supreme Court Asks Centre If Age Relaxation For Last Attempt UPSC Candidates Can Be Considered
On Monday, the Supreme Court asked the Central Government if it was possible to grant age-relaxation to the last-chance candidates to whom the Centre had already agreed to make an additional attempt this year. "We don't expect you to be rigid on this aspect. There were extraordinary circumstances" said Additional Solicitor General SV Raju to Justice AM Khanwilkar, the presiding judge of the bench. Although the bench acknowledged that it was the Centre's "policy decision" it noted that the "policies are made based on ground realities" The bench asked the ASG if it was possible to include age relaxation as a "extra ordinary circumstances" with regard to the "one-time measure" of the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the candidates.
The Centre has already decided to give the applicants, who had exhausted their last attempt in October 2020, an extra chance. The relaxation of the Centre was, however, subject to the condition that certain candidates should not be age-barred. Today, the bench comprising Justices Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari also heard the petitioners' arguments seeking the relaxation of the condition of the age bar. The bench told the ASG that similar age relaxations have been provided by the Centre in the past. The bench also stated that it would only be about 2300 for the beneficiaries of age relaxation.
Justice AM Khanwilkar initially questioned PS Narasimha about how the age bar could be relaxed. Narsimha told the Bench that the Centre has the power to relax the age bar. "If government is exercising a discretion, it should go to the benefit of the most vulnerable people." he said.