Supreme Court Rejects Student Petition Seeking Hybrid Format for Class X and XII Term Examination
18th November 2021, the Supreme Court of India in Abhuyday Chakma & Ors vs Union of India & Ors– WP(C) 1240/2021- dismissed the plea of students who had approached the court seeking a hybrid format of CBSE & ICSE class X and XII term examinations. The Court also highlighted the fact that the examinations had already begun and mid-process interference would be inadvertent.
The bench consisting of Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Mr. Justice C.T. Ravikumar held:
….as the CBSE examinations have already commenced from 16th November, 2021 and of ICSE/ISC will begin on 22nd November, 2021, it would be inappropriate to intervene and disturb the entire process at this stage.
The writ petition was filed by the petitioner-student on 10th October 2021 questioning the decision of CBSE/ICSE/ISC in conducting the term exam by physical mode. The notice of that the said examination was issued on 5th July 2021. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the situation of the COVID pandemic continued to prevail and urged that there were lakhs of student appearing for the examination leading to possible surge in infections. Further, he stated that the students from last academic year had given online exams and the same model should be permitted to continue this year as well.
The Solicitor General of India submitted that the exam for CBSE has already commenced from 16th November 2021 and necessary measures had been taken by the authorities which included 12 students were being seated per classroom instead of 40, the number of centres were increased from 6,000 to 15,000 meaning the centres were closer to the student’s homes, and the timing of the examination was also reduced from 3 hours to 1 hour 30 minutes. Solicitor General further stated that apart from the above measures by the Board, Covid-19 protocols were also being strictly adhered to.
The court after hearing the submissions of the parties concluded that interference at this juncture by the Court would be imprudent while stating:
Suffice it to observe that at such a belated stage, it is not appropriate to intervene in exercise of writ jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.
The Court additionally asked the authorities to ensure all safety measures are in place and said:
We, however, hope and trust that the authorities will take all precautions and measures to ensure that student(s) appearing in the concerned examination including the duty holders are not exposed to untoward situation, as has been assured across the Bar by the learned Solicitor General. Besides this, nothing more is required to be said in this order.
Further, the Court stated that the term examination for ICSE would commence from 22nd November as decided by the Board authority.
Accordingly, the case was disposed of.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL