SSC and HSC Examinations Cancelled, Consider Plea for Fee Refund: Bombay HC
29th July 2021, the Bombay High Court in Shri Pratapsing Ganpatsing Chopadar vs The Chairman, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education & Anr. (PIL no. 39 of 2021) directed respondent no. 1, Chairman of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education, to consider the refund of cancelled SSC and HSC examinations owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court sought the consideration of the representation dated 22nd June 2021, filed by the petitioner, a retired school Principal seeking a refund of examination fees paid by students for taking the Maharashtra Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Board examination (Class 10) and the Maharashtra Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Board examination (Class 12) in view of the said exams being cancelled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On receiving no response from respondent no.1 with respect to the representation dated 22nd June 2021, the petitioner approached the Bombay High Court. The petitioner contended that paying a meager amount of Rs. 420 for the SSC examination and Rs. 520 for the HSC examination would also have been very difficult for parents with low income.
The court considered the petitioner’s plea along with an interim application filed by Shri Vinayak Pandurang Ganmote, parent of a 12th std student, seeking a direction to the Board to refund the fee collected for the HSC examination as the same was not conducted.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni held:
“Interest of justice would be sufficiently served if the Chairman of the Board, respondent no.1, proceeds to consider the representation of the petitioner dated June 22, 2021 upon granting him an opportunity of hearing. In the event the prayer of the petitioner for refund of fees cannot be accepted, the Chairman of the Board shall pass a reasoned order and communicate the same to the petitioner. If, indeed, the concern appears to the Chairman to be of substance, we hope and trust that the Chairman shall pass an order for refund of either the entirety or part of the examination fees to the students.”
The court added that the said directions have to be completed within four weeks from the date of service of a copy of the order on respondent no.1, Chairman of the Board.
Ankitha Subramanya | EduLegaL