The bench, while taking into account the submissions of the board's counsel, posted the matter for hearing on June 23.
The CBSE on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it will “very shortly” take appropriate decision on the issue raised in a plea which has sought quashing of the notification for conducting remaining examinations of Class XII from July 1 to July 15 amid the increase in number of COVID-19 cases across the country.
The counsel appearing for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) requested a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, which heard the matter through video-conferencing, for a short adjournment so that he could apprise the apex court about the decision on the issue.
“During the course of argument, Rupesh Kumar, counsel appearing for Central Board of School Education, informed the court that Central Board of School Education is in the process of taking appropriate decision with regard to the subject matter of this petition very shortly,” the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, noted in its order.
The top court was hearing a plea, filed by some parents of students who are appearing in class XII examination, which has sought a direction to CBSE to declare the results on the basis of exam already conducted and to calculate it on an average basis with internal assessment marks of remaining subjects.
The bench, while taking into account the submissions of the board’s counsel, posted the matter for hearing on June 23.
Raising concern over the safety of lakhs of students, the plea has said that they might be exposed to COVID-19 infection if they have to appear in the examinations amid the increase in number of cases of virus infection.
It has urged the apex court to quash the May 18 notification of the CBSE by which the date sheet for remaining exams of Class XII was declared and also to stay it till the plea is decided by the court.
“The said petition would also demonstrate the extent of discriminatory and arbitrariness conduct of the respondent/CBSE in issuing the notification for holding of the remaining examination and that too in the month of July, 2020 wherein as per the AIIMS data, the said COVID-19 pandemic would be at its peak,” the plea has said.
It has alleged that considering the gravity of COVID-19 pandemic, the CBSE has cancelled the examinations of Class X and XII for its around 250 schools which are situated abroad and has adopted the criteria of awarding marks on the basis of either practical exams conducted or the internal assessment marks.
“It is highly regretful that the respondents (CBSE and Ministry of Human Resource Development) herein have no genuine concern about putting the lives at peril of all the students pan India and have no explanation whatsoever in insisting upon holding the said examination in India,” the plea claimed.
It said that in April this year, the CBSE had directed the schools to promote students of classes IX and XI to the respective next grades on the basis of school based assessments.
It aslo said that on May 25, the Ministry of Human Resource and Development had announced about conducting of exams for classes X and XII class students in almost 15,000 exam centres as against 3,000 centres which were used earlier.
“Ensuring proper cleanliness and safety standards as prescribed by the concerned government in COVID-19 situation in those 15,000 exam centres spreading over length and breadth of the country including rural sectors would not only be risking health and life of children but also would be an exercise in futility and an eyewash,” the plea said.
It said even if it is to be assumed that 50 per cent of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic then the students, who will appear in the exams, could be potential careers posing a great risk to themselves and also their family members.
The plea said that several premier educational institutes, like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), has also cancelled its exams including those of final year students because of the pandemic situation.
The plea has also raised concern over the issue where an examination centre might fall within the COVID-19 containment zone.