A fresh plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Assam government and state examination boards for the cancellation of Class X and XII exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The plea, seeking to intervene as parties in a pending PIL on the issue of cancellation of 12th Board examinations of CBSE and CISCE, has been filed by some students of Assam state boards and they seek similar relief on the ground of the prevailing pandemic situation.
A bench headed by Justice A KM Khanwilkar, on June 3, had expressed satisfaction over the development that the central government cancelled the class 12 board exams. The top court had directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) to place on record the well-defined objective criteria for assessment of students in two weeks.
Four Assam-based students have moved the intervention plea in the top court through advocates including Abhishek Choudhary and Manju Jetley and said that the state government, which earlier postponed the board exams due to the COVID situation, is now saying that it may conduct these tests in the physical mode in July and August. The plea has referred to the statement of ministers and the chief minister that it has been indicated that the postponed Board exams may be held between July 15 and 20 for two to three papers if Covid positivity rate by July 1 comes down to below 2 per cent.
It is humbly submitted that the statements made by the Chief Minister of Assam has created a situation of havoc and panic among the students and therefore, almost all the students, their parents and family members have been pushed into a state of dilemma and their mental condition has been devastated. Thus, the present applicant is before this Court seeking immediate intervention in the matter in the interest of safety, health (both physical and mental) and well being of all the students, their parents and family members, the plea said.
The positivity rate in Assam in July would have no relevance in mid-July-August when the examinations are proposed to be conducted and the positivity rate data is very dynamic in nature which has the potential to increase or decrease exponentially within a short span, the plea said. The classification sought to be made in the present case between the students of central examination boards and the students of Assam board students is prima facie irrational, unreasonable and is violative of the right to equality, the plea said.
The plea has made Assam, its Department of Secondary Education and its two boards — Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) and Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) as parties. The Assam boards had postponed the board examinations by issuing notifications on May 4 citing the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation as the reason.
The students referred to the decisions to cancel the board examinations by the central boards and various state boards as grounds for seeking the same relief.