The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by a group of six students demanding an option to hold CBSE and CISCE boards class 10 and 12 exams in online mode along with the center-based offline exams on November 18.
The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar dismissed the petition observing that the exams have already commenced on November 16 and intervention at this juncture will disturb the process.
The bench also noted in the order that the ICSE term exams are commencing from next Monday, November 22.
The Supreme Court bench in its order said, “…as the exam 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, who appeared for the CBSE, said that adequate arrangements have been adopted to address the concerns of the petitioners regarding COVID. The SG said that the exam centres have been increased to 15,000 from 6500 of last year to ensure more social distancing and less travel time. Now only 12 students will sit in a centre, as opposed to 40 students earlier. Also, the exam time has been reduced from 3 hours to 90 minutes.
The SG added that nearly 34 lakh students are appearing for the exams and to alter the mode of exam now will be tough.
“They are conducting exam for 34 lakh students,…we could have tested 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”, Justice Khanwilkar observed.
The bench noted that the petition was listed for the first time on November 5, and the next posting was on November 15, when the bench asked the petitioners to serve advanced copy on the respondents. The bench said that the petitioners could have sought for urgent listing after mentioning. While declining interference, the bench noted in the order that it hoped and trusted that the authorities will adhere to COVID protocol while holding exams