Delhi HC Orders CBSE to Moderate 2017’s Class 12 Board Marks

In April, CBSE had announced that it was scrapping its policy of inflating marks, beginning this year.

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Photo: <b>The Quint</b>

In what comes as a huge relief to CBSE students awaiting their Class 12 board results, the Delhi High Court has ordered the board to go ahead with ‘moderation’ of marks of students this year. On 24 April, the board had decided to scrap its controversial ‘moderation’ policy, which is criticised for increasing marks of different students by different amounts, resulting in an unfair and unequal system of marking.

The High Court order will ensure that CBSE’s new ‘no moderation’ policy can only come into effect from 2018.

CBSE Results to Be Delayed?

Following the setback in court, CBSE will consult the Union HRD Ministry on the issue.

However, the consultation process is unlikely to delay announcement of results, news agency PTI reported, citing sources.

"The board will study the court order in detail and consult the ministry to chalk out the future path. This however, may not delay the results as moderation is not a very time-consuming task," a source told PTI.

Delhi HC: CBSE Decision Was Unfair and Irresponsible

Hearing a petition on the matter on Monday, the court had rebuked CBSE for doing away with the moderation policy with immediate effect, calling it “unfair and irresponsible” to the students who appeared for the exams in 2017.

Last month, following a meeting with the Union HRD Ministry, CBSE and 31 other board exam authorities from across India, had announced that they would no longer ‘moderate’ or inflate students’ marks.

The petition, filed by Rakesh Kumar and advocate Ashish Verma in the Delhi High Court, argued that states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have decided to implement the policy change only from 2018, and hence the students from these states would fare better than those from Delhi and other states.

Responding to the petition, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Pratibha M Singh asked CBSE why it cannot implement the change in policy from 2018 instead. The court also held that CBSE scrapping moderation would drastically affect the students of Class 12, particularly those who have applied for admissions abroad.

When those representing the CBSE told the court that the decision to do away with moderation was taken at a meeting on 24 April 2017, the court is reported to have asked the board why a decision taken in April should affect exams that took place in March.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain had also told the court that while CBSE had written to Delhi University to give some relaxation to CBSE students in this year’s admissions, the university has refused to do so.

Senior advocate Balbir Singh, appearing for the petitioners, argued that CBSE students would be disadvantaged while applying to colleges, in Delhi University and elsewhere, as their marks could decrease by up to 15 percent due to the ‘no moderation’ policy.

One Wrong to Correct Another?

However, even as the court agreed with the petitioners that CBSE’s decision to scrap moderation this year "would have a drastic effect on the students", it is worth noting that the board’s moderation process itself is an unfair one.

Conclusive data analysis of CBSE results over the past decade shows that the board was inflating students’ marks unequally – that is, marks of different students were being raised by different amounts.

Read the details of how both the CBSE and the ISC, two of the country’s biggest board exams, tamper with students’ marks, in this report by The Quint: Exclusive: How CBSE, ISC Cheated You by Moderating Marks Unfairly.

Students Relieved

CBSE students who are awaiting their board results are relieved with the court order.

The court has taken the right decision. The boards should have come to a consensus well before the exams or decided to scrap moderation from next year. It is unfair to the students if some boards are doing it while others aren’t.
Ipsita Kapoor, Class 12 CBSE student
I agree that the CBSE’s methods of moderation are unfair. But going ahead with scrapping moderation for this year’s students, at a time when other state boards aren’t doing so, would have been even more unfair. 
Aryika Dadhwal, Class 12 CBSE student

Aryika adds, “CBSE students would lose out in terms of college admissions as well. If CBSE is to scrap moderation, it should only happen when every single board decides to do the same. There is anyway such a lack of uniformity when it comes to the marking patterns of different boards. And on top of that, if some boards moderate and some don't, then it disadvantages the students of the boards that have stopped moderation.”

Yet, some questions remain.

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