Monday, October 3, 2022

Supreme Court Seeks CBSE Reply On Plea Seeking Cancellation Of Board Exams: COVID-19

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday has directed CBSE to come up with instructions and consider the situation with regard to the plea challenging the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) notification declaring the commencement of Board exams in July.

A three-judge Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjeev Khanna issued the order while hearing a petition filed by parents of students who have appeared or will be appearing in Class XII Board examination being conducted by the CBSE.

The petition has been filed seeking quashing of CBSE notification dated May 18th 2020 by which CBSE has decided to hold the remaining examination of CBSE Board for Class XII from from July 1st to July 15th.

According to the petitioners, the conduct of CBSE in issuing the notification for holding of the remaining examination and that too in the month of July, 2020 is arbitrary and discriminatory since even according to the AIIMS data, the COVID-19 pandemic would be at its peak then.

The petitioners are concerned of the safety of millions of students who would be exposed to COVID-19 pandemic if they appear in the said examinations.

The petition also stated that many professional Institutes and Schools have considered the grim situation and have cancelled their examinations, including the University of Delhi which has cancelled their first year and second year undergraduate examination by stating that the same is not feasible during COVID-19 times. The premier institute like IIT across the country has also cancelled all its exams including those of final year students because of the said situation. The State of Maharashtra has also cancelled all University exams including their final year examinations.

The petitioners added that the Maharashtra Government has written to the CBSE wherein they have conveyed its inability to conduct CBSE examinations and the Maharashtra State Board exams have already been cancelled. While Chattisgarh has already canceled its exams, the states of Tamil Nadu and Telangana are also considering cancelling their Board examinations. 

According to the petitioners, CBSE has also discriminated against students in India since CBSE itself cancelled the examinations of Class X and XII for its 250 odd schools which are situated abroad and has adopted criteria in awarding marks on the basis of either Practical exams conducted or internal assessment marks, considering the gravity of this pandemic. However, no genuine concern about putting the lives at peril of all the students pan India has been shown by CBSE and no explanation has been given for insisting upon holding the said examination in India.

The petition also made note of the practical difficulties that would arise in conducting the examination since as per the guidelines issued by the Government of India and respective State Governments, many Red zones and Containments areas have been earmarked so as to deny any movement of persons. The Ministry of Home Affairs through its circular dated 20.5.20 had also clearly stipulated that no examination would be permitted in the said Containment zone. Therefore, if an examination centre falls in that Containment Zone, the students would not be permitted to appear in the exams and if a student has to come from a Containment zone for appearing in the said examination, they will not be permitted to move out from the said Containment Zone.

The petitioners also added that it is not practically possible for every parent to afford a private vehicle to send their wards to appear in the examination at different examination centres and if they hire a public transport, then the risk of contamination would be the really high.

-India Legal Bureau

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