The state government said its rationale behind the Best-Five system was to achieve uniformity between Class 10 students of the state board and other boards.
The Bombay High Court, however, felt that the formula instead gave an “unfair advantage” to SSC board students.
The formula was evolved during a meeting held by the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education at Pune in October 2009.
The Board resolved to forward a proposal to the state government for effecting an amendment in the Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Regulations, 1961, to enable it to introduce the Best-Five rule.
The government sanctioned the proposal and issued a government resolution on February 25, 2010.
Under the formula, a student’s percentage was to be calculated taking his or her marks in the best five subjects instead of the aggregate of six principal subjects and considered for admission to junior colleges.
Twenty-one parents of students of the ICSE Board had moved the high court arguing that the new formula gave SSC students an unfair advantage.
The court accepted their argument and rapped the state government for adopting the Best-Five formula on the basis of the perception—which has already been discarded by the high court twice—that state board students were at a disadvantage. “The state hasn’t learnt lessons from its past mistakes,” the high court said.
The court said some difference in subjects and marking patterns are not enough to substantiate this “disadvantage”. “Necessary and relevant material should have been placed before us,” the court said.
The judge also disapproved the delay in correcting the GR introducing the Best-Five formula and dragging the process for five months. “This is not a happy scenario,” the court said. “It took them a month to notice a mistake and another month to rectify it.”
The judges told the state to be vigilant and not risk the fate of students.