Supreme Court of India to examine plea to hold board exams
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine fresh pleas seeking restoration of Class XII examinations of the Central Board of Secondary Education and the ICSE council or an option to write the exams instead of relying on internal assessment, days after the top court granted in-principle approval to the formulas suggested by the two boards to award marks to this year’s outgoing students.
A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari asked attorney-general K.K. Venugopal, representing the CBSE, and a counsel appearing for the ICSE council to place their views by Tuesday on the plea, besides suggestions for uniform assessment criteria by the two boards in awarding the marks.
The court, which is dealing with a fresh batch of petitions challenging the decisions of the two boards to cancel the exam, posted the matter for further hearing to Tuesday 2pm.
On June 17, the court had granted in-principle approval to the CBSE and ICSE council to declare this year’s Class XII results on the basis of internal assessment marks obtained by students of the respective boards for the last three and six years respectively in response to a PIL.
On Monday, senior advocate Vikas Singh appearing for students and parents challenging cancellation of the exams insisted that they should be conducted by asking students to wear “double masks”.
“It is a very important exam. If this assessment (internal marks) is followed, there will be a lot of uncertainty and more litigation,” Singh said.
“Our contention is that this isn’t a market place and teachers and students can come with double masks,” the senior counsel argued.
The court took on record the following suggestions made by Singh:
⚫ The students should be given the option to choose between the two options, that is, either appearing for the physical exam or opting for the criteria adopted by CBSE/ICSE.
⚫ The option to improvise the result by writing the improvement exams must be given at the outset before declaration of results. In other words, the petitioners were of the view that the students cannot be allowed to first wait for the internal assessment results and thereafter opt for the exams.
⚫ There should be uniform criteria for assessment by the CBSE and ICSE.
Justice Khanwilkar, heading the bench, while referring to the plea for uniform criteria for assessment by the two boards orally observed: “These are two different dispensations. Apple can’t be compared to orange.”
However, the bench asked both the CBSE and ICSE to respond to the plea by Tuesday.
Another advocate Abhishekh Chaudhary, appearing for some private and compartmental students, said the decision of the CBSE to conduct exams for them instead of adopting internal assessment like that for regular students was arbitrary and unconstitutional.
The counsel argued that such a policy was discriminatory and violated Article 14 of the Constitution, which prohibited discrimination between two classes of citizens.
The bench agreed to consider all these issues on Tuesday.
The court will also hear the plea for cancellation of Class XII board exams by various states.