The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking directions to the C.B.S.E to ensure that Petitioners and other students of class 10th and 12th in the compartment category, are not forced to appear in the compartment examination during the peak of COVID 19
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna disposed of the petition stating that the petitioner may challenge the notification dated August 8, 2020.
Justice Khanwilkar: A substantive petition needs to be filed to assail the August 6 CBSE representation. The CBSE has already given its reasons. You please file the Notification. We'll give you the liberty to do so.
The petition pertains to 150198 students from class X and 87651 students from class XII who were placed within the compartment category. This decision came to be challenged before the Top Court in the case of Anika Samvedi & Ors. v. Union of India & Anr.
The Top Court had therein, vide order dated July 31, 2020, directed the Petitioners to make a representation in this behalf before the CBSE.
The Petitioners in view of the order of the aforementioned order of Top Court Court filed representations before the CBSE and stated that "in view of the rising cases of COVID Pandemic it shall be impossible for the CBSE to take the compartment examination soon and therefore, requested the CBSE to cancel the Compartment examination".
Further it was stated in the representation that since the examinations could not be held in the month of July therefore, the students are not able to take admissions in other universities for further education.
The plea avers that the CBSE vide notification dated 6.8.2020 gave reply to the representation of the Petitioners stating that it shall not accept the request of the Petitioners to cancel the compartment examination.
"It is submitted that CBSE gave a vague reply to the Petitioners representation and stated thereunder that if the compartment examination is cancelled then future of the other 10th and 12th board examination students shall be affected. However it is submitted that CBSE did not clarify that how the students who does not belong to the compartment category will be affected if the compartment exam is cancelled."- Excerpt of Plea
The plea also highlights that the CBSE did not even disclose the dates of the compartment examination in the notification therefore the said issue has still not been dealt by the CBSE.
"It is submitted that, the Petitioners have approached this Hon'ble Court seeking directions to the C.B.S.E to ensure that, the Petitioners and the other students of class 10th and 12th compartment category are not forced to appear in the compartment examination during the peak of COVID 19"- Excerpt of Plea
Additionally, the plea urges the court to issue directions to C.B.S.E to come up with a plan which shall ensure that neither the students are forced to appear in the compartment examination during the peak of COVID 19 nor students be forced to waste a whole year due to compartment in a single examination.
In related news, letter petition which was also moved on behalf of 809 students aggrieved by the decision of CBSE to conduct compartment examination, amid the Covid-19 pandemic was also mentioned before Top Court. This has not been taken up yet by the Court.
The letter plea urges the Court to take suo motu cognizance of the issue and put the "draconian decision" to conduct compartment examination in abeyance, until the pandemic subsides.
Compartment exams are conducted for students of Class X and XII who are unable to clear one or two subjects in board exams.
The Students' Association expresses concerns over conducting of offline examinations amid the pandemic, as it shall expose students/ parents/ teachers and staff to a lot of risk in view of exponential growth of the virus in the country.
The decision is also asserted to be contrary to the Unlock III guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which provides that the schools, colleges and educational institutions will remain closed until August 31, 2020.
Reference is made to a statement issued by the Union Minister of Higher Education, stating that no decision has been taken yet on the reopening of the schools in the country and any decision thereon shall be taken without considering safety of the students.
"In view of unprecedented health emergency and rising numbers of the COVID-19 cases in the country, the conduct of compartment examination will expose the examinees to a great risk and will undeniably sacrifice basic principle of integrity by neglecting equal basis and treatment to all examinees," the letter states.
Inter alia, the letter petition points out practical difficulties in concluding the compartment examination as many colleges have already announced the admission closure dates, whereas schedule for compartment examinations has not been released.