The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to constitute a committee to examine whether the introduction of the compulsory English comprehension skill test in the prelims of the Civil Services Examinations by the UPSC has adversely affected the prospects of Hindi and other regional language speaking candidates. The UPSC had introduced the English test from 2011.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked the Centre to constitute the panel within three months and take a decision in nine months.
The Bench, which heard a petition filed by retired Professor Dinanath Batra, directed the Centre to take a decision on the nature of the English language test in the examination. “We are confident that the committee would say whether the test is to be only qualifying or competitive or a mixture of both,” the Bench added while disposing of the petition. Counsel Jagdeep Dhankad and Monica Arora, appearing for the petitioner, argued that civil services aspirants till 2010 were required to answer two objective type question papers - one for general knowledge and the other on a subject of their choice in the annual preliminary examination.
The Bench remarked that “though no merit is seen in the challenge on the grounds urged, we find an element of arbitrariness within the domain of Article 14 in the decision of the respondents UPSC and the Centre to effect the change. We though, are not inclined to quash or interfere with the impugned change, are constrained to nevertheless observe that the respondents, the government and the UPSC need to re-look into the matter.”