To quash the decision of CBSE regarding the physical conduct of examination and provide for alternative assessment scheme to the students, as was done last year, 297 students wrote to Chief Justice N.V. Ramana to take suo motu cognizance in the matter.
In this letter petition, students of Class XII beg to submit that by way of this letter petition, we have approached this Court in order to seek kind indulgence of this Court regarding the decision to physically conduct the examination of Class XII, which is not only unjustified but also impractical which if executed will be a disastrous step which will have a cascading effeet to life, health and safety of millions of students, parents, teachers and support staff.
The petitioners said that, we are writing to you in the circumstances when the Covid cases have reached numbers which are unprecedented. Many students have lost their parents and family members. The sudden upsurge has left us with no other option but to stay indoors.
Petitioners further said that the announcement of the Board examination has created a cloud of uncertainty in the minds of thousands of students and is taking them backward rather than forward. The postponement of exams has a serious repercussion on the academic career of the students as they are deprived of applying to foreign universities and also apply for entrance examination for different colleges.
The letter Petition said that a national consultation was arranged on May 23, 2021 by the ministry of education, Government of India with the Education Ministers and Administrators of all States and UTs. The consultation was chaired by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and was attended by Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani and other Ministers. The newspaper reports suggest that after the meeting it is decided that the board examination will be physically conducted between July 15 and August 26.
The letter Petition stated that lakhs of students across the country are raising fear and apprehension about the physical conduct of the examination in the middle of the second wave. Such fear and apprebension is not unreasonuble and is well founded. The students will indubitably be subjected to life threatening risk if the examination is conducted physically, Following amongst other factors have to be considered:‐
(a ) The country is in the middle of t⁷he biggest heath crisis. Many states are undergoing lockdown. Many stadents have also migrated with their families to their native places. Physical conduct of exams will require them to travel back to base location, which will entail a huge risk to their life, heath.
(b) Not only the students but also their families will be a great risk if the students are most vulnerable to the virus. Therefore the physical conduct of exam is totally a mindless exercise.
(c) No vaccination for the age group below 18 years is yet effected. The country is facing acute shortage of vaccines and there is yet no update for vaccination for the age group below 18 years
(d) There is already apprehension of third wave and a fear that it will affect the children. Having no development regarding vaccination for the children and any other medical aid, physical conduct of exam will cost heavily on life of thousands of students.
(e) That several schools have heen converted into Covid care centres and also vaccination centres. Therefore, conduct of exams in the Covid hotspots will be a threat to life and safety of lacs of students.
The letter Petition submitted that, in an event the students are forced to appear in the examination who is going to take the responsibility in case the examination centre prove to be hotspots? The Government and the CBSC might want to consider if they will take the responsibility of the students in case they are infected with the deadly virus.
The Petitioners is most humbly submitted that the physical conduct of examination in the middle of current COVID crisis, will be in gross violation of the fundamental rights enshrined under article 14 and article 21 of the constitution of India.
“In view of the aforesaid, it is most humbly submitted that in view of the unprecedented health crisis, it will be disastrous decision in case students are made to physically appear in the examination. It is submitted that the students are ready to be evaluated in any other alternative mode including online conduct of exam, alternative evaluation. The thousands of students will be forever indebted for your consideration in the middle of this pandemic.
We sincerely hope that this Court will be pleased to issue appropriate direction in order to avoid unfair, unjust and unequal treatment to the students”, the letter Petition read.