The Supreme Court has directed Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) to hold consultation and take a decision by next week regarding the conduct of Board examinations in a plea seeking cancellation of Class XII exams which are to be held in July in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjeev Khanna has directed CBSE to examine whether the remaining Board exam papers can be scrapped and whether marks can be allotted on basis of internal assessment. The plea, filed by Advocate Rishi Malhotra on behalf of parents of students scheduled to appear for their XII Board exams in July, challenges the decision of the authority to conduct the remaining examinations from July 1 to July 15, stating that the same is arbitrary and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. It is submitted that the examinations in 25 other foreign countries, wherein CBSE has a presence, have been cancelled, and the same standards should apply in India in light of the growing concern over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, as multiple universities have also cancelled their exams, CBSE should consider doing the same. "…the University of Delhi has cancelled their first year and second year undergraduate examination by stating that the same is not feasible during COVID-19 times. Similarly, even the premier institutes like IIT across the country has also cancelled all its exams including those of final year students because of the said situation. The State of Maharasthra has also cancelled all University exams including their final year examinations." The plea, claiming that there is no surety on whether the COVID-19 situation is going to get better by July 2020, avers that the constant postponement of examinations and the delayed declaration of results will inflict irreparable loss to the students who have secured admissions in International Universities. Additionally, there exists various practical difficulties which have not been taken into account, such as the movements of students residing in containment zones and the unavailability of private vehicles for all students, thereby restricting their movement. Therefore, the plea prays for the quashing of the notification by CBSE and seeks for directions to the Centre and CBSE to declare the results on the basis of internal assessments. The Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar heard the matter and directed CBSE to hold consultations on the issue and to take a decision on the Board examination by the coming Tuesday.