Supreme Court seeks response from CBSE in plea seeking cancellation of Board Exams amid COVID-19 pandemic
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Supreme Court seeks response from CBSE in plea seeking cancellation of Board Exams amid COVID-19 pandemic

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today asked the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) to take instructions in the plea seeking cancellation of Board Exams scheduled to be held in July, amid the COVID-19 pandemic (Amit Bathla and Ors vs CBSE).

The Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Sanjiv Khanna took up for hearing via video conferencing the plea filed by parents of students scheduled to appear for the Board exams in July.

The Counsel for CBSE informed the Court that the Board was in the process of taking a decision on the issue raised in the plea and therefore sought for the matter to be heard at a later, although, short date. The Court recorded the submission made on behalf of CBSE.

"During the course of argument, Mr. Rupesh Kumar, learned counsel appearing for Central Board of School Education informed the Court that Central Board of School Education is in the process of taking appropriate decision with regard to the subject matter of this Petition very shortly."

The Court, thus, fixed the date for the hearing in the case for Tuesday, June 23 and asked the Counsel for CBSE to take instructions on holding of Board Exams at a time when COVID-19 cases are consistently on the rise. The Court said,

"Learned counsel for the Central Board of School Education prays for short adjournment awaiting that decision and to apprise the court about the same on the next date... List the matter on 23.06.2020, as requested"

The plea before the Supreme Court challenged the CBSE notification declaring the commencement of Board Exams in July. The plea prays for the results of students to be declared based on internal assessment marks this year.

In light of the growing concern over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the petitioners highlight that according to data by AIIMS, the pandemic would be at its peak in India at the time the exams are set to be held.

It would be a huge risk to hold the exams even though the number of exam centres stands increased and the authorities have assured that proper safety will be maintained, the plea states.

The petition also argues that many professional institutes have cancelled exams set to be held this year in light of the pandemic. In this regard, the petition states,

"...the University of Delhi has cancelled their first year and second year undergraduate examination by stating that the same is not feasible during COVID-19 times. Similarly, even the premier institutes like IIT across the country has also cancelled all its exams including those of final year students because of the said situation. The State of Maharashtra has also cancelled all University exams including their final year examinations."

On these grounds, among others, the petitioners have prayed that the exam notification be quashed and that results be announced on the basis of the examinations already conducted, after factoring in the internal assessment marks of the remaining subjects.

This petition is filed through Advocate Rishi Malhotra.

Read Order:

Amit Bathla vs CBSE - 17.06.2020.pdf
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