Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Rethink entrance test during Covid, Karnataka HC tells state

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The Karnataka High Court today has directed the State to rethink its decision of holding the Karnataka Common Entrance Test (KCET) during the Covid 19 pandemic. The Court has also directed the State to reconsider the question of holding the CET and asked the State to place its final decision before the Court tomorrow at 2.30 pm.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Sreenivas Oka made these observations while hearing a batch of writ petitions challenging the government’s decision of holding KCET exam in July. According to the notification issued by the State government dated May 13, KCET was proposed to be held on July 30 and 31. Challenging this order, different writ petitions were filed by Group of Students and NSUI, Advocates Pradeep and Abdullah Mannan Khan.

During the hearing, the Court noted that in the last two weeks, around 5,000 positive cases are being detected in the state every day with around 1500 cases being reported daily from Bengaluru. The government’s SOP itself says that no one is allowed to leave Containment Zones. In these situations, with no availability of public transport it’s possible that students might miss out on the exam.

While the Bench noted that the petitioners were late in approaching the Court to challenge a decision that was taken back in May, it was also sure that the state will take into consideration the multiple aspects involved including some students missing the exams.

While the bench observed that the petitioners approached the Court late, at the ’11th hour’, to challenge the decision taken in May, it passed the order taking note of the drastic situation caused by the pandemic.

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The petitioners in their petition had contended that it will be difficult for students from containment zones to attend the examination, and if equal opportunities are denied to these students it will be violative of the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. Also, if exams are conducted in such conditions risking the health and safety of students, it will be violative of fundamental rights under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

-India Legal Bureau

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