CSAT qualifying cut-off: A group of candidates who appeared for the 2023 Civil Services Examination have approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), seeking a reduction in the qualifying cut-off for Paper II (CSAT) from 33% to 23%. They argue that the difficulty level of the questions was similar to that of the CAT and IIT JEE examinations.
The plea requests the tribunal to either direct the UPSC to reduce the cut-off or conduct a re-examination for Paper II as part of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2023. The matter is scheduled to be heard by the Principal Bench of the CAT.
According to the applicants, the CSAT exam, as per the UPSC syllabus, is intended to test candidates’ general aptitude and basic knowledge at the Class X level. However, they allege that the questions in the Paper II were beyond the prescribed syllabus and required a level of proficiency similar to that of CAT and IIT JEE exams.
The applicants further argue that the challenging nature of the exam is discriminatory towards candidates from humble backgrounds who cannot afford special coaching or come from rural areas or arts streams.
They claim that questions from topics outside the syllabus and from previous years’ exams of IIT JEE and CAT were included, which makes the exam exclusionary and deviates from its intended purpose. They suggest that an expert committee should review the questions, and appropriate action should be taken based on the committee’s recommendations.
The plea emphasizes that while UPSC has the discretion to set the question paper, it is not immune to judicial review if it is found to be discriminatory, arbitrary, or in violation of constitutional provisions.
The case titled “Siddharth Mishra & Ors. v. UPSC” is being represented by Advocate Saket Jain on behalf of the applicants.

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