Too late to cancel CBSE offline exams: SC junks plea
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said the ongoing exam process cannot be suddenly made online, which may result in rescheduling the examination, as it junked a plea by a group of students seeking directions to conduct term exams for Classes 10 and 12 for the CBSE and ICSE boards via hybrid mode, rather than physical.
A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and C.T. Ravikumar told the petitioners' counsel: "Don't mess up with the education system. Let the authorities continue their work..."
The bench noted that if the court were to interfere at this stage, it may lead to practical difficulties as the exams have already commenced.
The bench told senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, representing the petitioners: "Exams are going on. Let us be practical. Now how can it be online...It's too late now and exams cannot be rescheduled."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, assured the top court that Covid concerns have been taken care of and all necessary precautions have been put in place, to conduct the exams. Mehta said: "Earlier 40 students sat in a class, but now only 12 students will be sitting in a class so that there is social distancing. Number of exam centers has been increased to 15,000..."
Noting that the petitioners have moved the top court late, the bench said the last-minute business should not be encouraged and declined to entertain the petition.
The petitioners argued that the CBSE and ICSE boards, conducting exams via physical mode, are acting in contravention of Covid guidelines. The exams for Classes 10 and 12 students for the academic year 2021-22 are scheduled to be held from November 16 and November 22.
The petitioners contended that about 26,000 schools are affiliated to the CBSE Board alone and at any rate, such continuous exposure through offline exams sharply increases the risk of infection to Covid-19 rendering the impugned action as arbitrary and in violation of right to health.