Supreme Court dismisses students’ plea seeking hybrid option for class X-XII Term Exams

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea demanding an option to hold CBSE and CISCE boards class 10 and 12 exams in online mode along with the center-based offline exams to be held on November 18. The Central Board Of Secondary Education and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, Term-1 exams 2022 have already started and are being held in offline mode.

The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar rejected the petition filed by a group of six students. The bench observed that the CBSE term exams have already started on November 16 and any kind of intervention will disturb the process.

“As the exams has commenced on November 16, it will be inappropriate to intervene now and disturb the entire process. At this belated stage, the writ petition cannot be entertained. We hope and trust that all the precautions will be taken by the authorities and COVID SOP will be adhered to.”

Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta said that the CBSE has made adequate arrangements. The examination centres have been increased from 6,500 to 15,000 so as to ensure that there is more social distancing and less travel time. Only 12 students will sit in a centre. The time of the examination has been reduced from 3 hours to 90 minutes.

The lawyers representing the CBSE said that they have taken care of the concerns of the petitioners.

“The petitioner’s concerns we have taken care of. This time only 12 students will be sitting in a class so that there is social distancing.”

The plea stated that offline examinations could result into a Super Spreader Event.

“Exams for major subjects in December 2021 are spread over three weeks, placing the petitioners in great apprehension on the risk of infection and the impact on subsequent exams. Preceding the exams for major subjects in December 2021 are the exams for Minor subjects in November 2022 in physical mode, further aggravating the likelihood of turning the exams for Major subjects into a Super Spreader events.”

Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde said that the petitioners seek a hybrid option to conduct the boards examination as the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over.

“This is not adversarial. This is a unique situation. Lakhs of students will be writing the exam. These are mid term exam brought because of pandemic. Our request is pandemic is not over yet. It is premature to say that we can have a physical exam. Wherever there is a large congregation of people, the virus can transmit.”

Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde.

However, Justice Khanwilkar observed that the petitioners could have sought for urgent listing after mentioning the issue as it is too late now, while dismissing the plea.

“They are conducting exam for 34 lakh students…we could have tested you if you had come early. This last minute exercise should be discouraged. We can’t mess up the process. Let the authorities do their job.”

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