Published: 18th November 2021
CBSE, ICSE students will have to write their exams offline, as Supreme Court dismisses plea
The petition demanding the conduct of hybrid exams was dismissed on account of exams already having commenced, and procedures put in place for 34 lakh candidates
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by CBSE and ICSE students, demanding a hybrid conduct of the Term I board exams. Taking note of the fact that the CBSE exams for Class X have already commenced from November 16 for around 34 lakh students, the court said it would be 'inappropriate' to entertain the writ petition at this stage. "We trust that all precautions will be taken by the authorities and COVID-SOPs will be adhered to," said the two-judge bench consisting of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar.
Appearing for the CBSE, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta said that the board had increased the number of centres from 6,500 last year to 15,000 this year, accommodating only 12 students per centre. The Term I exams are also being conducted in the objective-type format, and the examination duration has been reduced by half from 3 hours to 90 minutes. He assured the court that all precautions for the safety of the students were in place.
The petitioners had said that they weren't given a choice when the board asked them for their 'consent' to conduct the physical examination. Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde, who represented the students in the court said that the pandemic isn't over yet, and it was "premature" to conduct physical exams at this time for so many students, according to a report by LiveLaw.
The senior advocate also had a counter to the claim that exams had already commenced, and the students were late in filing the petition. He said that the exams that have been conducted so far were for minor papers, where students are fewer and more scattered. The real threat arises when they all appear for the major papers, he claimed. Hegde also stated that the exam notification came out only a month earlier, on October 14, and the students and parents had appealed to the authorities before approaching the court. However, Justice Khanwilkar noted that the exam was still being conducted for 34 lakh students, and added, "This last-minute exercise should be discouraged." The judge also said that the last-minute moves attracts headlines, and asked the petitioners to not mess with the education system.