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National Institute for Open Schooling student moves Supreme Court for cancellation of pending exams for Classes X and XII due to COVID-19

"Conducting the examination during the pandemic poses grave danger to the health and lives of the students, their families and the community at large," the petition before Supreme Court says.

Shruti Mahajan

A student pursuing his Class XII from National Institute for Open Schooling (NIOS) has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction for the cancellation of pending exams and declaration of results for Classes X and XII (Neil Varun Namburu v. NIOS and ors).

The petitioner is seeking directions from the Supreme Court for the NIOS to cancel the remaining exams for Classes X and XII and declare the results in a manner similar to the way CBSE and ICSE were permitted to do or alternatively for the NIOS to devise a system for the special needs students of NIOS.

The petitioner is a student pursuing his Class XII through NIOS who intends to pursue his higher studies thereafter. On having secured admission in two universities in the UK already, the petitioner is waiting for his Class XII results. The course in these Universities is set to commence in September this year.

However, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, some papers remain pending which were earlier scheduled to be held on specified dates in July and August but have now been postponed indefinitely. The petitioner highlights the risk in conducting the exams at a time like this.

"It is submitted that conducting the examination during the pandemic poses grave danger to the health and lives of the students, their families and the community at large."
- the plea states.

The petitioner further points out that owing to the critical health crisis faced by the country due to COVID-19, the CBSE as well as ICSE devised a system for declaration of results and the same was permitted by the Supreme Court.

"Similarly, a number of states as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Boards have cancelled the exams and promoted the students in view of the pandemic", the plea adds.

This step by various Boards has helped the students who have applied for higher education in Universities not just in India but also abroad, it is noted.

The NIOS, which also caters to special needs students and Divyang students, has already cancelled the remaining exams for these students which demonstrates that a system of this nature is possible and practical, the petitioner says, while praying for the same system to be used for all students in NIOS. The petition says,

"It is submitted that all the pending exams ought to be similarly cancelled and the result declared as the pandemic poses a threat to the health and safety of all."

Writing the exams in the midst of a pandemic which is only surging daily would pose a severe health risk to the students, the petitioner highlights. At the same time, declaration of results is just as crucial for the future of these students, it is submitted.

Therefore, the petitioner has prayed for NIOS to be directed to not just cancel the pending exams but also to declare results of students.

The petition has been drawn by Advocates Prerna Singh, Arunabha Ganguli, and Guntur Pramod Kumar.

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