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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to continue with the existing moderation policy for students who have appeared for their 10th and 12th standard examinations in 2017.
CBSE had proposed to do away with the moderation policy wherein grace marks are given to students in order to compensate for factors like ambiguity in questions, difference in difficulty level in different sets of questions papers etc.
The Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Pratibha M Singh, while hearing the matter in the writ petition Rakesh Kumar and Anr. Vs. Union of India, said:
“Nowadays, children are facing a lot of pressure. They are entitled to know what you (CBSE) is doing. They are entitled to some stability. Don’t trouble them.”
ASG Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Union of India, submitted that the policy was being revisited to bring uniformity to the evaluation system.
Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal expressed that she is well aware of the pressures of evaluating answer sheets. She further stated that while evaluating the first paper, there is a lot of enthusiasm. However, after a while it fades away. Evaluating more than ten papers at a stretch is very difficult.
“You can have as many guidelines as you want, but human nature and psychology do not change.”
The Court stated that:
“It is laudable that you are trying to bring uniformity in the system and trying to bring it at par with the international standards. However, we are only concerned with the students who have already taken their examinations. You cannot change the Rules after the game has begun.”
The Court also stated that many foreign varsities have made conditional offers to students believing that the moderation policy would be followed. A change in policy would cause disturbance to the whole admission process. The Court, therefore, proceeded to note the following in its order:
“It cannot be denied that the change in the evaluation policy, that is, denial of moderation may have drastic consequences for the admission offers, which large number of Class XII students who have taken the CBSE courses and examination would suffer. Neither the said foreign universities nor the students were aware that there would be a change in the policy of the CBSE.
26. We are also informed that many students may have also made arrangement of student loans and may have effected payments of large sums to these foreign universities. Grave and irreparable financial loss would also ensure to these students and their families. If the students are unable to fulfil the conditions imposed by foreign universities owing to the changes in the moderation policy, then it would have a devastating impact on their educational prospects.”
The Court held that a prima facie case for grant of interim relief has been made out.
“We are satisfied that grave and irreparable loss and damage would enure to the students if interim relief is not granted.”
Concluding the proceedings, the Court pronounced:
“It is therefore directed that so far as evaluation of the current students who have undertaken CBSE Class X and Class XII examination in the year 2017, the respondents shall follow the declared policy of 2016 including the moderation policy which was in vogue on the date when they submitted their application forms.”
The Court, however, made it clear that nothing contained in the order would be an expression of opinion on the merits of the case.
“We make it clear that nothing herein contained as an expression of opinion on the merits of the case, which has to abide by the substantive challenge to be examines after counter affidavits are filed by the respondents before us.”
Read the order below.