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One of the PILs states that the decision taken by KEA to conduct exams is against the expert decision of the MHA, which seeks to reopen certain activities in a phased manner.
Three Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have been filed before the Karnataka High Court challenging the decision of the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) to conduct the Karnataka Common Entrance Test (KCET) amid the COVID-19 pandemic [Eric E Steaphens and ors v. State of Karnataka] and [Pradeep Kumar vs State of Karnataka].
The first plea, filed by National Students Union of India (NSUI), states that though the KEA had issued a notification on March 30 to postpone the KCET exam indefinitely owing to the nationwide lockdown, on May 13, it had issued a revised notification for conducting KCET on July 30 and 31.
The plea further highlights that on May 30, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued guidelines for phased reopening (Unlock 1), which specifically stated that all schools/colleges and educational institutions shall remain closed till mid-July.
Later on, it was clarified by MHA that the all schools and colleges shall remain closed till July 31, the plea states.
However, not paying any heed to the MHA guidelines, on July 18, KEA issued a copy of instructions to COVID-19 positive patients willing to appear for KCET exam on June 29.
The KEA instructions stated that these candidates will be writing exams by sitting in a different room, the plea notes. This apart, such students are required to submit a medical certificate along with "risk consent" to the authorities. This poses a risk not only for other students and parents, but also for invigilators, examiners, security staff etc. the petition states.
PIL filed in Karnataka High Court
The PIL states that the decision taken by KEA to conduct exams is against the prudent and expert decision of the MHA, which seeks to reopen certain activities in a phased manner, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
As students from outside the state would also appear for KCET, exempting such students from the mandatory quarantine regulations would be discriminatory, unreasonable and imprudent, the PIL asserts.
Further, the PIL goes on to state that conducting KCET amid the ever-spreading COVID-19 is violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
Under the circumstances, the plea prays for the following:
To set aside the KEA notification dated May 13 to conduct KCET exams on July 30 and 31.
To direct the state government and KEA to go ahead with KCET only after the completion of JEE and NEET exams.
To consult various stakeholders such as parents and students before taking a decision regarding the schedule for the conduct of KCET.