HC declines to hear PIL against UPSC`s decision on preliminary examination

The Delhi High Court on Friday declined to hear a PIL against UPSC`s decision asking candidates not to answer questions in English Comprehensive section of the preliminary examination of the civil services to be held on August 24.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 22, 2014, 19:24 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday declined to hear a PIL against UPSC`s decision asking candidates not to answer questions in English Comprehensive section of the preliminary examination of the civil services to be held on August 24.

"Why don`t you (a lawyer who is also appearing in the exam) go and prepare for the examination instead of filing this PIL," a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said.

The bench also said the matter is not a PIL and is a personal litigation so the petitioner, Vikas Nagwan, should approach the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

"Why don`t you (Nagwan) prepare and seat for your exam, instead of filing a PIL? Does this court have the jurisdiction? Why don`t you go to the CAT? If you are a candidate appearing for the upcoming exam, then go to the CAT," it said.

Nagwan, a civil services aspirant himself, has filed the PIL before a larger bench after an earlier plea on the same issue was dismissed by a single judge bench.

The single judge bench had refused to hear that plea saying it was not "maintainable". The court, however, had granted him the liberty to file a PIL on the issue.

However, the larger bench today raised objections to the maintainability of the PIL and asked the lawyer to give reasons that it was worthy to be heard as a PIL.

"Tell me one thing, how can this petition be entertained? If you are personally coming here, then it means this is not a PIL...," the court said.

"You are knocking at the wrong door. You are barking up the wrong tree," the judge said and asked the petitioner to withdraw his plea and approach the CAT.

The petitioner then withdrew his PIL after the court granted him the liberty to file an "appropriate petition" before the CAT.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, also opposed the plea, saying a similar petition was filed before another bench by another person so there is no point in entertaining this.

The petitioner, in his PIL, has said "thousands of students will be adversely affected if the questions of the English Comprehensive section, that carries 22.5 out of 200 marks, will not be checked."

Recently, the Centre had, following protests by a section of students over English Comprehension test in the preliminary examination of the Civil Services examination, decided to remove the questions of English languages in the CSAT.

Later, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) came out with the decision asking candidates to leave the questions unanswered during the CSAT examination as the section will not have any bearing on the merit list due to non-evaluation.

The PIL challenges the August 16 notice of UPSC that had said that questions under English Comprehension test category will not be checked.

UPSC had, in its notification, said "the Paper-II would contain a section on English Language Comprehension Skills (Class X Level). Candidates must note that they do not have to answer the questions on this English Language Comprehension Skills (Class X Level) section. These questions will not be evaluated."

The maximum marks for Paper II would be `200 minus the marks earmarked for the English language comprehension skills (Class X level), the UPSC had said.

The Department of Personnel and Training today also issued instructions to the aspirants of civil services preliminary examination informing them that English language section would not be counted for merit.

"The Union Government has decided that for the civil services (preliminary) examination, 2014 to be held on August 24, this section on English language comprehension skills (Class X Level) will not count for gradation or merit," it said.
Candidates must therefore note that they do not have to answer the questions on this section. "These questions will not be evaluated," the DoPT said.
However, the duration of the Paper II would remain two hours and candidates can utilise the entire time in answering all questions except those in the section containing English language comprehension skills, it said.