Decision on Class 12 exams would be taken in two days, Centre tells SC

The Centre told the Supreme Court that it would decide in two days if ICSE and CBSE Class XII Board Examinations would be conducted this year amid Covid pandemic.

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The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it would decide in two days if ICSE and CBSE Class XII Board Examinations would be conducted this year amid Covid pandemic.

At the outset Attorney General KK Venugopal urged a Bench-led by Justice AM Khanwilkar to adjourn the matter, saying a meeting had been called to take a decision on the issue.

“No difficulty. You can take a decision…But if you are departing from the policy last year, you must give good reasons as the last order was after detailed deliberations,” the Bench told Venugopal.

The students had “sanguine hope” that the policy adopted last year should be followed this year, the Bench said, posting the matter for hearing on June 3.

“Take whatever decision that’s appropriate but what has been expressed by the petitioner is that last year’s policy should be followed. Almost a similar situation was prevalent last year,” the court noted.

“We will keep this in mind…Will give a response to the court by Thursday,” the Attorney General said.

The Supreme Court had on Friday deferred to May 31 the hearing on a petition seeking directions to cancel the Class 12 exams of the CBSE and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) amidst the surge in Covid cases across the country.

“Be optimistic. Maybe by Monday some resolution will be there. Let us have it on Monday,” the Bench had told petitioner Mamata Sharma who has sought directions to devise an “objective methodology” to declare Class 12 results within a specific time frame.

The CBSE had on April 14 announced cancellation of Class 10 exams and postponement of Class 12 exams in view of the sudden spike in Covid cases. The Ministry of Education had recently sought detailed suggestions from the states and Union Territories on the proposals discussed in a high-level meeting held on the issue.

The CBSE has proposed conducting the exams between July 15-August 26 and the result to be declared in September. It gave two options — conducting regular exams for 19 major subjects at notified centres or conducting shorter duration exams at respective schools where students are enrolled.

The petitioner has contended that due to the unprecedented health emergency and surge in Covid cases in the country, it is not possible to conduct the examination and any further delay would cause irreparable loss to the future of students.

It was the utmost duty of the state to take care of the health and safety of students and at the same time, not to hamper their higher education and career prospects, she submitted.

Sharma referred to the June 26 last order passed by the apex court which had approved the schemes of CBSE and CISCE for cancellations of remaining board examinations scheduled from July 1 to 15 last year due to the Covid pandemic and also approved their formula for assessment of examinees.

“In view of the unprecedented health emergency and rising number of Covid cases in the country, the conduct of examination (either offline/online/blended) in upcoming weeks is not possible and delay in examination will cause irreparable loss to the students as time is the essence in taking admission in higher education courses in foreign universities,” she has contended.

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