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The Court noted that since the students writing these exams have no percentage, provisional admission would not be possible.
In the matter seeking cancellation of this year's Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) compartment exams, the Supreme Court today directed that a copy of the plea be served to the Central government.
The matter was heard today by a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna.
Appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha argued that CBSE has notified the time table of the compartment exams, which begin from September 22. Once the exams are over in October and the results are announced, the students would have missed out on the college admissions, Tankha pointed out.
It was further argued that there needs to be some solution or direction to the universities so that provisional admissions can be granted to the students appearing for compartment exams, subject to declaration of the results.
However, Justice Khanwilkar noted that since the students writing these exams have no percentage, provisional admission would not be possible. It further noted that CBSE "was not in a position" to act and that some other agency needed to take a call.
Tankha said that Union of India and states were already a party. However, the Court pointed out that only a few states were made parties to the matter, and that "sending notices to all universities" in India would not be feasible, as many autonomous universities have already wrapped up admissions.
As the petitioners continued to request for a workable solution to benefit the students, the Court ordered the petitioner to serve a copy of the plea to the law officer of the Union of India so that on September 14, when the matter will be heard next, the Centre could provide a solution in the case.
The petition pertains to CBSE's compartment exams, which will be written by 1,50,198 students from Class X and 87,651 students from Class XII.
During the earlier hearing on September 4, the Court had asked CBSE to file by September 10 an affidavit revealing details regarding the holding of these exams.
Appearing for CBSE, Advocate Rupesh Kumar had informed the Bench that the number of exam centres has been increased to 1,278. He submitted,
"We have taken a decision that in a class where 40 students could sit, now only 12 will sit. We are taking all precautions."
The petitioner had argued that it was not clear why CBSE cannot cancel the compartment exams when the main exams were cancelled due to COVID-19. Counsel for the petitioner said,
"The students will ultimately come in the category of failed students, since exams will not be able to be conducted by September and the students will not be able to apply for further studies."
However, the Court has asked the petitioner to clarify the prayer made in the petition.
The plea states that on August 4, the CBSE stated that it would not accept the request of the petitioners to cancel the compartment examinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A plea filed by the same petitioner was heard by a Bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar on August 20, when the Court had asked her to challenge the August 6 CBSE notification vide a separate substantive petition, instead of challenging the exams altogether.
The plea stated that the CBSE had not disclose the dates of the compartment examination in the notification, and therefore, the said issue has still not been dealt by the CBSE. The plea reads,
"It is submitted that, the Petitioners have approached this Hon'ble Court seeking directions to the CBSE to ensure that, the Petitioners and the other students of class 10th and 12th compartment category are not forced to appear in the compartment examination during the peak of COVID 19."
Apart from the plea filed by Ankita Samvedi that was heard today, another petition avers that since most colleges close admissions by August 31, students who have to take the compartment exam (re-test due to inadequate marks in papers) will be left behind the 2020-21 admission cycle.
The plea filed through Advocate-on-Record Manju Jetley and Advocates Sanjay Kumar Dubey, Tanvi Dubey and Sanpreet Singh Ajmani, also seeks to quash the latest decision of the CBSE to conduct the compartment exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is claimed that this decision violates the right to equality, since other CBSE students were exempted from appearing for board exams