The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Centre and State to clarify their stand on holding the remaining ICSE and ISC board exams for students of class X and XII. Court also directed the Centre to inform about any decision taken pursuant to the June 15 order passed by the Allahabad High Court in regard to the remaining subjects of the Class X and XII examinations, due to be conducted by CBSE as well as by CISCE in July, 2020.
Division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice SS Shinde was hearing via video conferencing a public interest litigation filed by Advocate Arvind Tiwari, who is also a father of a class X student. He sought directions for cancellation of the remaining ICSE and ISC board exams scheduled to be held from July 2 all over Maharashtra and declaration of results on the basis of gradation and past performance.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh appeared for the Union of India and assured the bench that he would obtain instructions and report by the next date if at all any decision is taken by the Central Government.
Court expressed concern for the examinees in view of the prevailing situation, where the number of persons testing positive for Covid-19 in the State is on the rise together with the death toll. Advocate General AA Kumbhakoni also assured the Court that the stand of the State government will be clarified by the next date of hearing.
In a previous hearing on June 18, Court had deferred hearing of the petition and the intervention applications till Monday with the expectation that the CISCE would finalise its grading plan for promoting students on the basis of past performance and grades.
CISCE's counsel Aditya Mehta submitted that for unavoidable reasons, the grading plan could not be finalised and sought an adjournment till Friday next. Moreover, a proceeding instituted before the Supreme Court in respect of the same issue is expected to be listed tomorrow for consideration, Mehta told the Court.
The petitioner appearing in-person reiterated that the examinations scheduled in July, 2020 ought to be cancelled and the results completed on the basis of the pre-board examinations and internal assessment report.
Senior Advocate Dr.Birendra Saraf, appeared for the intervener and contended that a number of examinees are willing to write the remaining papers of the examination physically, having put in hard work to prepare, and that any decision taken by the State or by the second respondent to cancel the examinations would be detrimental to their interest, hence, an option ought to be left open for such examinees to write the examinations physically.
Finally, the bench observed-
"The grading plan is expected to be finalised by the second respondent by Thursday next whereafter it could be circulated for the examinees to make an informed choice. The respective stands of the Central and the State Governments are required to be known. That apart, there is a pending proceeding before the Hon'ble Supreme Court on the selfsame issue. The order passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, if any, on such proceeding may also be seen."
Thus, the hearing was deferred till June 24 at 10:45 am in order to enable the ASG and AG to apprise the Court of the stand taken by the Union and the State with regard to the said examinations.
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