SC permits Kerala to hold offline Class 11 exams

On September 3, the court had restrained Kerala from proceeding with its Class 11 examinations beginning September 6 on account of the “alarming” situation posed by surge in Covid-19 cases that posed a risk to health of students. More than 300,000 students in the state are supposed to appear for the examinations
Supreme Court. (HT archive)
Supreme Court. (HT archive)
Published on Sep 17, 2021 06:09 PM IST
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ByAbraham Thomas

The Supreme Court on Friday gave its nod for the physical conduct of Class 11 examinations in Kerala as it said that the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic is not in the offing and trusted the authorities to follow all precautions.

On September 3, the court had restrained Kerala from proceeding with its Class 11 examinations beginning September 6 on account of the “alarming” situation posed by surge in Covid-19 cases that posed a risk to health of students. More than 300,000 students in the state are supposed to appear for the examinations.

The bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar said, “We are convinced by the explanation offered by the state government. We hope and trust that the authorities will take all precautions to ensure no untoward incident is faced by students who are of tender age and are appearing for the examination.” With this direction, the court disposed a petition filed by advocate A Rasoolshan who argued that the decision of the state to conduct offline examinations for Class 11 was creating tremendous mental stress among students and posed a serious risk to children as cases in the state were rising at an alarming rate.

Explaining why it had swiftly intervened in the matter on September 3 ordering stay of the examinations, the bench said, “Earlier we had intervened thinking that by September, the possibility of the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic was there. Now the third wave does not seem to be in the offing immediately.”

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“The authorities are conscious of their responsibilities. Last time when the grievance of holding physical examination was made before us, we did not have a convincing answer. Now the explanation has been given in the counter affidavit of the state. More than 700,000 students appeared in JEE and NEET. Even for APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, the state conducted engineering entrance examination. So long as Covid protocols are followed, we have no objection,” the bench observed.

The state convinced the court that separate rooms will be organised for those showing symptoms of illness, along with PPE kits for students and invigilators.

Further, the state told the court that holding online examination will prejudice a large number of students who have no access to laptops, desktops or even mobile phones and in many areas, the internet connection or mobile data are not available. “These students will never be able to write online examinations,” the state said.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021