Published: 03rd September 2021
Supreme Court stays Kerala govt's decision to conduct physical exams for Class XI students
Citing the alarming level of cases in the state, the Apex court said the government will be held accountable even if one case is reported because of the exams
Kerala carries the burden of a majority of India's COVID cases — almost 70 per cent. The state has been reporting 30,000 plus cases per day, and there seems to be no let-up in the number of infections. In this scenario, on Friday, the Supreme Court stayed the state's decision to conduct its Class XI examinations in offline mode, by a week.
A three-judge bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar were hearing a petition was filed in the Supreme Court by the students to put a hold on the Class XI exams. The bench noted that the situation in the state with regards to the COVID-19 situation was 'alarming' and that it would be unwise to expose students to such a risk. The bench decided to stay the exams for a week, saying, "Cases in Kerala are about 70 per cent cases of the country, with around 35,000 daily. Children of this age cannot be exposed to this risk." The court also said that the movement of students across the state for the exams will worsen the caseload and cause a 'super spread'.
Coming down hard on the Kerala government's inability to control the number of cases in the state, Justice Roy said, "I have been the Chief Justice of Kerala and I can say that Kerala has one of the best medical infrastructures in the country. Despite that, Kerala has not been able to contain the COVID cases." The bench asked the state's counsel to assure the court that no student will be infected during the exams, adding, "Even [if] one case [is] reported for a student, we will hold you accountable." The counsel said that the state cannot give such an assurance.
In June, the court had been petitioned by the students to postpone the exams, but the court had refused to intervene, as cases were supposed to have decreased by now.
The court is also due to hear a petition to postpone the National Eligibility and Entrance Test for medical UG admissions, as students have been running an online campaign citing stress and clash with other exams.