The state government will have to inform the Bombay high court on the steps it would take to deal with load-shedding at exam centres from next year.
On Tuesday, the division bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a contempt petition, contending that earlier court orders on load-shedding at exam centres had not been followed by the state and other authorities.
Around 2.5 lakh Secondary School Certificate (SSC) students, mostly repeaters, are expected to appear for Class 10 and 12 board exams beginning on September 26. The government told the court that it would ensure that there are generators at all centres.
The court accepted the arrangement but sought a broader response from the government considering it was “a human issue”.
“What about other exams?” asked the court. “Why should action for contempt of court not be taken when there is a binding direction of the high court?”
The government had earlier said providing generators could be dangerous as they operate on diesel.
“If generators are harmful, in what manner you will supply [power]?” asked the bench. “If you want to maintain this stand, you will have to provide solar energy.”
Government pleader A Vagyani sought time for the government’s response to this.
The state board counsel had earlier told the court that of the 759 exam centres for Class 10 and 12 exams, 153 were in areas facing load-shedding.
The court further directed the secretary of the school education department to constitute a team of officials from the department to conduct surprise checks on centres during the exams to ascertain if all measures are in place.
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited had previously told the court it could not guarantee uninterrupted supply as it was governed by central directives, but that efforts would be made to ensure students weren’t affected.
The next hearing is on October 9.