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SC asks CBSE to respond to parents’ plea against Class 12 board exams in July

CBSE had issued a notification announcing that the pending board exams, postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, will be held in July.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to respond to a petition filed by four parents of Class XII students against the decision to hold the remaining board exams between 1 and 15 July.

The bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna directed CBSE to submit all modalities that will be involved in conducting these exams by Tuesday.

On 18 May, CBSE had issued a notification, announcing the fresh schedule for the pending board exams that were postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, imposed on 24 March.

The notification also gave specific instructions that students will have to follow during the exams, including wearing a mask at all times and maintaining social distancing.

The parents — Col Amit Bathla, Poonam Singla, Charu Singh and Sunitha — have challenged this, raising concerns about the safety of the students who would appear for the exams.

The petition, filed through Advocate Rishi Malhotra, calls the CBSE’s conduct “discriminatory and arbitrary”, since it wants to hold the exams in July when “as per the AIIMS data, the said COVID-19 pandemic would be at its peak”.

Pointing out that this would involve almost 15,000 exam centres, as opposed to 3,000 centres in the past, the petition notes, “Ensuring proper cleanliness and safety standards as prescribed by the concerned Government in COVID-19 situation in those 15,000 exam centres spreading over length and breadth of the country including rural sectors would not only be risking health and life of children but also would be an exercise in futility and an eyewash.”

Also read: Modi govt to ensure Class 10 students who didn’t write board exams are not hassled

Petition calls for quashing board exams during Covid-19

The petition also raises other concerns, such as students having to wear gloves and masks in rising temperatures, travelling from containment zones for the exams and parents not being able to afford private vehicles to send their children to examination centres.

The petitioners also refer to other institutions such as the Maharashtra State Board, which has cancelled all exams in light of the pandemic.

They point out that CBSE has also cancelled Class X and XII exams for 250 of its schools situated abroad.

“It is highly regretful that the respondents herein have no genuine concern about putting the lives at peril of all the students pan India and have no explanation whatsoever in insisting upon holding the said examination in India,” it submits.

The petitioners therefore demand that the notification be quashed and CBSE be directed to declare the results on the basis of the exams already conducted.

“As done by the respondent/CBSE in its other 250 schools abroad, various State Boards in other States, the examination scheduled to be conducted in July, 2020 should be cancelled and the marks could be allotted on the basis of internal assessment,” the petition says.

“The exams which are already held (majority of the subjects), the average of those marks could be calculated and can be added up with the remaining paper which marks can be assessed by internal assessment,” it adds.

Also read: Masks, sanitisers, 12 students per room — how CBSE plans board exams postponed due to Covid


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