In an order dated 20.07.2021, the Supreme Court has overruled the Bombay HC’s judgement which held that the Union Public Service Commission has the authority to treat candidates as qualified to appear for the civil services exam, even if they have submitted their degree certificates late.
In the present case, the aspirants were unable to produce the degree certificates on time as their university results got delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Considering these unparalleled circumstances, UPSC had permitted them to appear for the mains examination by taking an undertaking to produce the certificates of degree after the results are published. However, before the mains examination, their university results were declared. Later the UPSC cancelled their eligibility on the ground that they had not produced the proof of qualifying exams before the prescribed last date.
The Bombay High Court, in its judgment dated 01.04.2021, had allowed the petitioners to appear for the interview, even though they had submitted the certificates after the cut-off date. The division bench comprising of Justices SV Gangapurwala and Shrikant D Kulkarni of the High Court had observed: “Rule 7 Note II of the CSE Rule 2020 gives powers to the UPSC. in these exceptional cases to treat a candidate who does not have the qualifications as detailed in the rules as a qualified candidate”.
Consequently, the UPSC filed a special leave petition against the aforementioned judgment of the Bombay High Court. The Supreme Court in its decision observed that the High Court’s decision will stand overruled, it opined that, “This appeal raises issues already answered. Similarly, this appeal is disposed of on the same grounds. Needless to observe, any statement of law made by the High Court, which is not consistent with the order passed by this Court on July 16, is deemed to be overruled”.
However, the Supreme Court did not interfere with the relief granted by the High Court and further reiterated that the relief is a one-time incident as was given by the Apex Court in Deepak Yadav and others vs UPSC and others.