The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to defer the Delhi Higher Judicial Service Main Examination, 2019 which is scheduled to be held on March 13-14, 2021 (Ravi Shekhar Mandal Murti vs High Court of Delhi).
Ravi Shekhar Mandal Murti (petitioner), who is a lawyer, had sought a direction to postpone the examination till the completion of COVID-19 vaccination drive of all lawyers.
Considering that the petitioner, a cancer survivor, could suffer from serious, life-threatening health complications if exposed to COVID-19, a Division Bench of Justices Siddharth Mirdul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani asked the High Court administration to provide a separate room for him to participate in the examination.
During the course of the hearing, the Court expressed its reservations at deferring the examination on its eve.
While the counsel for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, argued that there we at least 25 other similarly placed candidates who were in favour of postponement of the examination on account of COVID-19, the Court asked,
“What will happen to those who have already arrived (in the city for the examination)? ..We have to balance the equities..”
The Court also took into account the fact that the last Higher Judiciary examination was held in 2017.
“The entire recruitment process will go for a toss,” the Court remarked.
Since the present edition of the Delhi Higher Judicial Service Main Examination would be the last attempt for the petitioner on account of his age, Luthra argued that another chance should be given to the petitioner because of the pandemic.
However, no order was passed by the Court on this aspect.
Counsel for the High Court, Advocate Ankit Jain informed the Court that all precautions were being taken by the High Court for safe conduct the examination in which a little over 280 candidates are scheduled to appear.
Reading the Standard Operating Procedure put in place by the High Court for the examination, Jain said that the candidates would be spread through the three buildings of the High Court, with not more than 36 candidates on each floor.
He added that there would be two separate entry-exit gates for each building to avoid crowding.
On instructions, Jain stated that a special arrangement could also be made for the petitioner.
The Court has directed the High Court administration to file its response to the petition challenging the Delhi Higher Judicial Service Main Examination, 2019 notice.
The matter would be heard next on May 5.