Is separate question paper for other boards possible for FYJC CET, Bombay HC asks state
The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday has asked the Maharashtra government through the school education department to inform whether it will be able to provide multiple question papers for the common entrance test (CET) for students seeking admission to Class 11 or first-year junior colleges from various boards.
The division bench of justice RD Dhanuka and justice RI Chagla asked the question, while hearing the petition filed by Ananya Patki, an ICSE student of IES Orion School, Dadar, wherein it was argued that as the CET question paper would be based only on the state board syllabus, students from other boards would be at a disadvantage. In view of this, the petition urged that the education department be directed to have separate question papers based on CBSE and ICSE board syllabus. The court also asked that in the event of separate question paper is not provided, whether the state would withdraw the priority set to be given to students who appear for CET.
The court was informed by advocate Yogesh Patki, father of the petitioner, that the petition sought to quash the May 28 notification of the state government which stated that admissions to Class 11 would take place based on a CET on the state board syllabus.
The May 28 notification had announced that as Class 10 board exams could not be conducted in view of the pandemic, students would be evaluated through an internal assessment formula for the academic year 2020-21. The notification further stated that admissions to Class 11 would be conducted physically through optional CET based on the Class 10 syllabus of the state board and those unwilling to appear for it will be admitted on the basis of an aggregate of their Class 10 marks.
Patki alleged that the CET was discriminatory as the first preference for admission to Class 11 would be given to students who appeared for CET, and as the exam is based on SSC board syllabus, the interest of his daughter and that of students from other boards would be prejudiced. He further said that as his daughter was not in a position to give the exam physically, she would be at a disadvantage at the time of admission. In view of this, he sought a stay on the implementation of May 28 notification pending hearing.
Government pleader Purnima Kantharia informed the court that CET was proposed to be held on August 21 and registration for the same started from July 21 and would be accepted till July 26.
After hearing the submissions, the court sought to know from the state whether separate question papers for students from CBSE and ICSE board could be provided. If that was not possible whether the government was willing to let go of the priority criteria stated in the notification. “In view of the statement made by the government pleader and in view of the fact that the matter is proposed to be heard on the suggestion given by this court on July 28, 2021, no interim reliefs are warranted at this stage,” the bench stated.
The HC then asked the state government to file additional affidavit in reply and to place the data on record showing the number of application received by it for the CET exam during the next hearing. The court also allowed the petitioner to implead CBSE and asked ICSE to file an affidavit within one week and posted next hearing on July 28.