The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 22 June, refused to interfere with the decision of CBSE and CISCE – both of which had cancelled Class 12 board examinations due to the second wave of COVID-19.
A vacation bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari observed that the decision of boards was “well-informed” and was taken at the “highest level” to protect the welfare of over 20 lakh students, as it dismissed a bunch of petitions which challenged the same.
“We hold that there is no need to interfere with the scheme propounded by CBSE and ICSE. It takes into account concerns of all students.”SC Bench
Further, the apex court, as per media reports, gave the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government two days to convey the final decision, after the state government said that it wants to conduct state board exams for class 12.
The Bench also told the state government that the latter would be responsible if there’s even one loss of life.
“You can’t keep everything uncertain...remember, if there is even one fatality, we will make the state responsible.”SC Bench
On Compartment Exams
The Court also ejected a plea by private and compartment students against CBSE’s decision to hold offline examinations for them.
According to Bar and Bench, the petition stated that this decision by CBSE amounts to unequal treatment to private/ patrachar/ second-chance compartment candidates of Class 10 and 12 since board exams for regular students have been cancelled by CBSE.
- Advocate Abhishek Choudhary, appearing for the compartment students, argued that CBSE is planning to hold the examinations between 15 August and 15 September, even though there are reports that a third wave of COVID-19 might strike in September.
- Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, appearing for the government, however, is reported to have said that the compartment exams will take place "as soon as COVID subsides."
Meanwhile the Court refused to interfere, nearly, as per Bar and Bench, stating: “present scheme says exam will be held where all such candidates can appear as private candidates and exams will be held from Aug 15 to September 15 and results will be at the earliest so that these students can pursue their career if so desired.”
Earlier on Monday, 21 June, the court said that it has agreed with the boards’ schemes in principle but will “hear the petitioners before suggesting modifications”.
The court passed the order while it was taking stock of Class 12 exams by the state boards, following the cancellation by the CBSE and CISCE boards. The court was informed that Assam, Tripura, and Punjab have cancelled Class 12 state board exams in view of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Bar & Bench reported.
“We will examine points in both schemes. If there is some issue, we can understand, but we cannot go by the perception of someone,” the court observed, as quoted by Bar & Bench.
SC Approves Assessment Plans
The SC on Thursday, 17 June, had approved the assessment plans submitted by the CBSE and the Council for evaluation of Class 12 students.
- For Class 12, the marks obtained in the unit, term, and practicals will be taken into account, and the results will be decided based on the performance in Classes 10 and 11 (30 percent weightage), as well as one or more unit test(s), mid-term or pre-board examinations in Class 12 (40 percent weightage).
- Meanwhile, for the Class 12 students of the CISCE board, the marking plan is largely the same as that for the CBSE. However, instead of three years, the board will be taking into account the performance in the last six years, the counsel told the SC.
- The CBSE will declare results by 31 July, Attorney General KK Venugopal had told the court. The CISCE, meanwhile, has sought time till 20 July to publish the results but has also said that it will endeavor to release the results before that.
(With inputs from Bar & Bench.)