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"We have taken a decision that in a class where 40 students could sit, now only 12 will sit. We are taking all precautions", counsel for CBSE told the Court.
The Supreme Court was informed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) today that compartment exams would be held by the end of September.
The Court has asked CBSE to file by September 10 an affidavit revealing details regarding the holding of these exams.
Appearing for CBSE, Advocate Rupesh Kumar informed the Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna that the number of 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."
When the Bench queried about the date for the exams, CBSE responded that they would be held by September end. A notification to this effect will be released by today, Kumar said.
The petitioner 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 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.
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