Justice Anand Venkatesh, judge of the Madras High Court
Justice Anand Venkatesh, judge of the Madras High Court
Litigation News

Cannot poke nose into policy: Madras HC dismisses pleas challenging State's evaluation method for passing Class X students amid COVID-19

"If the Court is satisfied that the decision taken by the Government is not arbitrary, irrational or is not actuated by bias or malice, this Court should not poke its nose to a policy decision", the Court said.

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court has dismissed pleas challenging the method adopted by the Tamil Nadu government to evaluate the academic performance of Class X SSLC students amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in lieu of final exams (Minor T Mohamed Humayun and ors. v State of Tamil Nadu and ors).

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh ruled,

"If the Court is satisfied that the decision taken by the Government is not arbitrary, irrational or is not actuated by bias or malice, this Court should not poke its nose to a policy decision taken by the Government. In the considered view of this Court, the method adopted by the Government does not fall within any of these categories. Therefore, this Court is not inclined to interfere with the Government Order."
Madras High Court

Earlier this year, the Tamil Nadu government had announced by a Government Order that final exams for Class X students would be cancelled in view of the pandemic. All students in the state would be passed this year without the conduct of exams, it was intimated.

Additionally, the state government also informed that Class X students would be evaluated by considering the marks secured in quarterly and half-yearly examinations and attendance (given 80% and 20% weightage respectively).

This evaluation method was challenged by a group of Class X students before the Madras High Court. It was argued that the government ought not to have confined the assessment only to the quarterly and half-yearly examinations.

However, Justice Venkatesh has now dismissed the challenge, opining that there is no scope for judicially reviewing the State's decisions since it was apparent that the decision was not arbitrary to warrant the Court's interference.

The Court explained,

"It may be possible that some of the students are not happy with the method suggested by the Government or it is also possible that there are some alternative or effective methods available to award marks to the students. That by itself cannot be a ground for this Court to interfere with the decision taken by the Government. These are areas which should be safely left within the domain of governance and the Courts must be very slow to interfere with such decisions."

Therefore, the petitions challenging the Government Order were dismissed by the Court.

Senior Counsel TP Manoharan, assisted by Advocate TM Naveen, appeared for the petitioners.

Special Government Pleader C Munusamy, Government Advocate V Annalakshmi, and Special Government Pleader Syed Mustafa appeared for the respondent-authorities.

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