July 31 result deadline for state education boards
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that Class XII results of all state education boards must be declared by July 31 and their respective methodologies for awarding marks completed in the next 10 days.
Many state boards, as also the national boards CBSE and CISCE, have cancelled the Classes X and XII exams in view of the pandemic.
A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari grilled the Andhra Pradesh government that has planned to go ahead with the exams “tentatively”.
The court expressed reservations about the state’s decision and posted Andhra Pradesh’s case for a special hearing on Friday, declining to adjourn the matter till Monday on the ground that students’ future cannot be kept in uncertainty.
The bench indicated that even if there was one Covid-related death on account of the planned exams, Andhra would be compelled to pay an exemplary compensation.
The court had on Wednesday approved the declaration of Class XII results of CBSE and ISC students on the basis of marks obtained in the past three and six years, respectively. Some of the petitioners before the apex court want a similar formula to be followed by the state boards.
The court agreed with the request of Monika Gosain, the counsel appearing for the Haryana government, that a clarification be issued to the effect that the respective boards are free to formulate their own formulas for award of internal marks as all boards are autonomous and independent bodies.
“We have no difficulty in acceding to this submission. In other words, we make it clear that each board may formulate its own scheme. However, we further make it clear that we are not endorsing the correctness and validity of the proposed schemes, to be so formulated by the concerned boards,” Justice Khanwilkar said while dictating the order. “That will be considered on its own merits, if and when the occasion arises….”
“We direct all the state boards to ensure that the schemes are formulated and notified at the earliest and not later than 10 days from today and also declare the results of internal assessment by 31.07.2021, which is the timeline specified for the CBSE and the CISCE in terms of our order dated 22.06.2021…,” the court added.
The bench disapproved of the Andhra government’s decision to conduct the exams in July.
The bench cautioned Andhra that it cannot expect the University Grants Commission to withhold the college admission process merely because the state had not declared the results on time.
“You have to understand that just because you have not conducted the exam cannot be a ground for not starting college admissions,” the bench said, adding that “CBSE and ISC students will get admissions and your students will be deprived”.
The court was of the view that with an estimated 5.20 lakh students being asked to write the exams and another 50,000 support staff entrusted with the task of conducting the tests, the pandemic situation in Andhra could only worsen.
“Have you worked out the formula to follow the protocol? How are you going to arrange for the requisite rooms? How are you going to divide the students in 34,634 rooms? On what basis have you said that not more than 15 students per room? If you don’t have the arrangements, are you going to conduct it in the open?” the bench asked.
Justice Khanwilkar observed: “We’re not very convinced…. How can we permit you to put the lives of students at risk? If we agree, you will have to put before us a proper firm decision… You’ll have to explain to us everything to ensure a well-defined formulated plan.”