The plea seeking cancellation of the class 12th CBSE and ICSE board examinations filed in the Supreme Court was adjourned till Thursday, June 3 after the Centre asked the Bench for some time to come up with the final decision. The Bench observed that if the Centre was to deviate from their last years’ policy, then the move would have to be justified with a good set of reasons. The Attorney General appearing for the Union of India informed the Court that the government would take the final call within the next two days.
The Bench orally observed, “We don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of the matter at this stage, but there’s hope on part of petitioners that last year’s policy could be used this year. So you need to give tangible reasons.” The matter was earlier adjourned on Friday to be then heard on Monday by the Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari as the petitioner had not served an advance copy on the standing counsel of the CBSE. The Court had hence directed the petitioner to serve an advance copy on the counsel for Central Agency, CBSE, ICSE, and the Attorney General.
The plea filed by Advocate Mamta Sharma states that for the innocent students of class XII, a ‘step-motherly, arbitrary, inhuman’ direction has been issued by postponing their final examination for an indefinite period. The petitioner rather sought a direction similar to that of a matter heard back in 2020- Amit Bathla and Anr. V. CBSE & ors. The Supreme Court in its judgment back then had directed the computation declaration of the final result of the class XII students based on their earlier scores as the main examination had been postponed and could not be conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plea also highlighted how the CBSE and the ICSE in their circulars about the examinations had accepted that the situation was distressing due to the pandemic and how they had already partly accepted last year’s judgment by promoting the class X students to the next grade by preparing their result based on their earlier grading. As per Sharma, she, in her capacity as an advocate with the Delhi Bar Council, was approached by minor students from class XII. She had then filed the plea on their behalf, as their claim was genuine and to safeguard their fundamental rights of education under Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution.
The plea also mentioned how conducting examinations, be it in any mode (offline/online/blended), was not possible because of the surging cases all across the country and the unprecedented health emergency. With this, stress was also laid on the fact that even the postponement of the examinations would lead to wastage of a lot of crucial time for the students as time is the essence in taking admission in higher education courses in foreign universities.
It was also stated in the plea that, “As per the UNESCO statistics for the year 2018, around 7.3 lakh students had opted for foreign universities to pursue higher education. Delay in the declaration of result will ultimately hamper one semester of the aspiring students as admission cannot be confirmed until the result of class XII is declared.” As per the petitioner, it would not be fair on the part of the respondents to keep mum looking at the current scenario, and also their not taking a timely decision would adversely affect more than 12 lakh students of class XII.
On the other hand, a maths teacher from Kerala, Tony Joseph, had earlier intervened in the petition filed by Sharma. His plea was filed through Advocate Jose Abraham and stated, “Class XII board exams are the most integral exams in the life of a student. The class XII exam is career-defining and more importantly, the admission to higher education institutions hinges on the result of this exam. Cancelling the exams will cause injustice to the hardworking students who worked hard for the board exams.”
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author