Delhi High Court to Examine UPSC Aspirants’ Plea for Preliminary Exam Answer Key

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In a significant development for UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) aspirants, the Delhi High Court has agreed to assess a petition filed by 17 unsuccessful candidates who are seeking the publication of the answer key for the preliminary civil services examination conducted earlier this year. The court’s decision has provided a glimmer of hope to these candidates who have been engaged in a prolonged legal battle.

The petitioners, who did not secure the qualifying marks in the preliminary examination, contested a press note issued by UPSC in June. The press note stated that the answer key would only be released after the declaration of the final result.

UPSC had clarified in its official notification dated June 12, 2023, “Candidates are also informed that marks, cut off marks, and answer keys of CS (P) Examination, 2023 will be uploaded on the Commission’s website i.e., only after the entire process of the Civil Services Examination, 2023 is over, i.e., after the declaration of the final result.”

The Delhi High Court, however, has taken cognizance of the petitioners’ concerns, asserting that the matter involves the adjudication of legal and fundamental rights of the candidates. These rights encompass issues of fair play, legitimate expectations, and the right to know.

The court emphasized that when the enforcement and protection of fundamental rights or any individual’s rights are sought, it cannot ignore such matters. Consequently, the court has admitted the petition for further examination and scheduled it for arguments on merits on September 26, 2023.

Notably, UPSC had contended that the petition was not maintainable in the high court and that only the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had the authority to address issues related to UPSC recruitment. However, the Delhi High Court concluded that directing UPSC to release the answer key did not fall under the purview of “recruitment” of civil servants, thereby allowing the case to proceed within its jurisdiction.

This development offers a ray of hope to the aspirants, who eagerly await the release of the preliminary exam’s answer key, providing them with clarity and transparency in the evaluation process.

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