Delhi High Court Directs CBSE To Declare Result Of Class X Student Who Failed To Remit Fee Due To COVID Difficulties
The Delhi High Court, while taking into account the economic background and the effect of COVID-19 pandemic of a student, directed CBSE to declare his result of Class X student despite the fact that he had failed to remit fee to the school. Justice Sanjeev Narula acknowledged that under ordinary circumstances, attendance criteria must be met, as pre-condition for appearing in the examinations. However, he noted that COVID-19 pandemic had affected several families who lost their sources of income, and plunged them into poverty and this had affected the education of the children.
Briefly, the facts of the case are that the petitioner, a student of Class X approached the Delhi High Court in November, 2021 seeking direction to CBSE and the school to allow him to appear in Class X Board examinations. Pursuant to interim directions in that case, the Petitioner was permitted to appear in Class X Board examinations. However, the result of the same was withheld from the petitioner.
The counsel for CBSE, Advocate Ashok Kumar, opposed the petition primarily on the ground of non-fulfilment of the eligibility criteria owing to lack of requisite/qualifying attendance. It was stated that his attendance was merely 38.04%. Petitioner attributed the shortfall in attendance to the COVID-19 pandemic. The counsel for Petitioner, M.A. Inayati, also argued that on account of inability in depositing the requisite school fee, Petitioner was not permitted to attend classes. Thus, the petitioner submitted that the school had flouted the circulars issued by the Directorate of Education, GNCTD dated 18th April, 2020 and 28th August, 2020 which mandated them to allow the Petitioner to attend the classes regardless of the delay or default in payment of the fee.
The court found that the Petitioner had appeared in the term examinations and was even allowed to attend online classes subsequent to court's intervention, wherein counsel for the school was directed to "ensure that the Petitioner's parents and the School coordinate towards the settlement of the disputed fees, so that the Petitioner is permitted to attend classes so that he can make up the shortfall in attendance prior to the next session of Class X examination."
The court also found that it was only in January 2022 that the Petitioner was added in the WhatsApp group of the school, wherein the link for attending the classes was shared by the school. This then enabled him to attend online classes.
The court also found merit in the contentions of the Petitioner that the circulars issued by DoE, GNCTD allowed the Petitioner to attend classes notwithstanding the default in payment of the fees.
Accordingly, the court opined that–
"The shortfall in attendance has resulted due to mistake on the part of the school and not the Petitioner. Petitioner's economic background and the COVID-19 pandemic situation were also contributory factors which deprived the Petitioner of the means to attend the online classes. The court is mindful that attendance criteria must be met, as pre-condition for appearing in the examinations and this requirement should not be ordinarily diluted. However, the court is also conscious of the fact that COVID-19 pandemic affected several families who lost their sources of income, and plunged them into poverty. The immediate fallout was on the education of the children and the effect thereof is visible in the instant case. Default in payment of fee directly impacted the Petitioner, as he was without an access to attend online classes. Therefore, the Petitioner is entitled to be exempted from the condition of fulfilling the attendance requirement."
Thus, the petition was disposed of with a direction to CBSE to declare the results of the Petitioner for both the terms of Class Xth Board examinations.
CASE TITLE: ARHAM HASSAN MINOR THROUGH HIS FATHER ABID HASAN v. CENTRAL BOARD OF SECONDARY EDUCATION & ORS