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Supreme Court adjourns plea seeking CBSE, CISCE exams in hybrid mode instead of offline

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The Supreme Court today has adjourned the petition filed by students seeking directions to the Central Board of Secondary Education and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations to conduct the examination in Hybrid/Blended mode instead of conducting exams in offline mode stated in their revised examination schedule.

The matter is adjourned to November 18 along with the other connected writ petitions.

Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde, who appeared for petitioners, Abhyuday Chakma and other students, aged between 15-18 years, who have to appear for Class X and XII exams from various schools across India, requested the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing as exams are starting tomorrow.

The petitioner submitted that the date-sheet discloses exams for major subjects spread over three weeks placing the petitioners and the like in great apprehension at the risk of infection and the impact on subsequent exams. Preceding the exams for Major subjects in December 2021 are the exams for Minor subjects in November 2021 in physical mode further aggravating the likelihood of turning the exams for Major subjects into Super Spreader Events.

The Bench, comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice C.T. Ravikumar, considered the urgency of the matter and advanced the connected matter which was previously listed on January 4 and would now be taken up along with the present petition on November 18.

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The counsel appearing for the petitioner was asked to serve an advance copy of the petition to the standing counsel appearing on behalf of the CBSE. The petitioners also highlighted through the writ petition that the consent is meaningful only when there is a choice i.e. choice to take the exam offline or online or not take at all. Without such a choice, consent is vitiated by duress. Further, many students have reported that consent is being secured by resorting to misrepresentation and coercion. 

The petitioners are praying to set aside two circulars-

–        Circular dated 14.10.2021 which states CBSE will conduct the examination of Class X and Class XII in offline mode.

–        Circular dated 22.10.2021 states that ISC and ICSE revised plan of examination of conducting the exams in offline mode.

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The students further also prays for a direction to CBSE/CISCE to issue a revised circular for conducting the ensuing Term 1 and Semester 1 exams of CBSE and CISCE Boards in Hybrid/Blended mode with the option to choose between online and offline exams.

The petition states that the Government of Delhi on reopening of schools itself stated that only upon the consent of parents, students can opt for an offline mode; else can continue classes on a hybrid mode. However, it contradicted its own statement by conducting exams only by way of offline mode. Despite high Covid infection rates reported by the Ministry of Health, the respondents decided to conduct exams in offline mode.    

Case Title- Abhyuday Chakma Vs CBSE

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