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Supreme Court to hear plea tomorrow

The Supreme Court will be hearing a plea seeking cancellation of Class 12 board exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) tomorrow, May 31.

The plea has also sought directions to devise an “objective methodology” to declare the result of class 12 within a specific time frame.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari will hear the plea on Monday.

The CBSE had on April 14 announced the cancellation of class 10 exams and postponement of class 12 exams in view of the surge in coronavirus cases.

Recently, the Ministry of Education sought detailed suggestions from the states and Union Territories on the status of the Class 12 board exam. After which, the CBSE proposed conducting the exams between July 15-August 26 and the result to be declared in September.

The board also proposed two options: conducting regular exams for 19 major subjects at notified centres or conducting shorter duration exams at respective schools where students are enrolled.

Besides, the Ministry of Education maintained that “nothing has been finalised yet and a final decision will be announced by June 1. The minister has already stressed that safety of students is a priority but these exams are crucial too”.

Subsequently, a plea was filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the CBSE’s proposal, conduction Class 12 board exams.

“In view of the unprecedented health emergency and rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the conduct of examination (either offline/online/blended) in upcoming weeks is not possible, and delay in examination will cause irreparable loss to the students as time is the essence in taking admission in higher education courses in foreign universities,” the plea said.

“It cannot be legitimately expected from the respondents to remain a mute spectator over the current situation and not to take a timely decision in respect of examination and declaration of result of more than 12 lakh students of class XII,” it said.

The plea has also sought setting aside of the notifications, issued last months by the CBSE and the CISCE, only in respect of the clauses dealing with the postponement of class 12 examinations.

The petition said it is the utmost duty of the state to take care of the health and safety of students and at the same time, not to hamper their higher education and career prospects.

It said the Covid-19 situation is more severe in comparison to last year and the respondents should adopt the same criteria of assessing the grading/marks of class 12 students as done last year.

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