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SC seeks AG’s help over plea on cancellation of Class 12 CBSE exams

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the assistance of the Attorney General to decide on a plea to scrap Class 12 Board examinations and told the petitioner Mamta Sharma to be optimistic as the Centre, which is expected to decide on this issue by Tuesday, could pass a resolution in her favour
By Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2021 11:47 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the assistance of the Attorney General to decide on a plea to scrap Class 12 Board examinations and told the petitioner Mamta Sharma to be optimistic as the Centre, which is expected to decide on this issue by Tuesday, could pass a resolution in her favour.

The bench posted the matter for Monday and directed a copy of the petition to be given to the central government, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE). It also directed the petition to be supplied to office of Attorney General for India.

The bench asked the petitioner why an advance copy was not served to Centre or CBSE. On Friday, as the bench took up the matter for the first time, it found only CISCE being represented in Court by senior advocate JK Das.

Initially, one of the judges was of the view that the matter could be heard on Tuesday, coinciding with the Centre’s decision on holding the Class 12 examinations in the wake of the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the bench decided to keep the matter on Monday.

The petitioner sought a notice to be issued on her petition as several high courts were also being approached on the same issue. The bench told Sharma, “Be optimistic. May be there is a resolution in your favour.”

Sharma appealed to cancel the Class 12 board examinations, saying students should not be made to suffer amidst an unprecedented public health crisis arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On April 14, CBSE issued notification cancelling Class 10 examinations and postponing public examination for Class 12. Similar notifications were issued by CISCE on April 16 and 19.

Challenging the decision of both the Boards, the petition said, “In view of the unprecedented health emergency and rising number of COVID-19 cases, conduct of examinations either online/offline/blended in coming weeks is not possible and delay in examination will cause irreparable loss to students as time is essence in taking admission in higher education courses in foreign universities. ” Sharma wanted the CBSE, CISCE and Centre to devise an objective methodology to declare the result within a specific time frame.

IN this petition, an application has also been moved by a teacher requesting the Court not to scrap the Class 12 exams. This application by a Kerala-based teacher Tony Joseph has been filed by advocate Jose Abraham. The application stated that Class 12 examination is a “career defining” examination in the life of a student and plays a crucial role in determining admissions to higher education institutions.

Last year, the top court faced a similar predicament when a demand was made to scrap Class 12 Board examinations. The petition came up at a stage when some subject papers remained. After Court’s intervention, the CBSE decided to scrap Class 10 examinations. It devised an Assessment Scheme for Class 12 students based on papers already given and their overall performance during the year.

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