The Supreme Court of India has rejected a plea that was filed by six students from CBSE and CISCE boards. The plea demanded a hybrid model for conducting the Term 1 examinations. Examinations for both CBSE and ICSE have already begun and will be conducted in the offline mode adhering to the necessary COVID-19 protocols. The petition was chaired by Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravi Kumar. According to them, the plea was filed with short notice and there is no room for consideration.
The matter was presented by senior advocate Sanjay Hedge who argued that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Moreover, the students are attending various events and hence, it will not be safe to hold the examinations in offline mode. In contradiction to this, senior advocate SG Tushar Mehta stated that the hybrid model of conducting exams was not followed last year. This time, there have been changes in the modalities as well. Every classroom will have 12 students instead of 40 to ensure proper social distancing. The examination time has been reduced to 90 minutes instead of 3 hours and the number of centers has also been increased to 15,000.
Mehta’s concluding argument was that rather than disrupting the process of conducting the examinations, more safety measures can be assured. The petitioners demanded to conduct both CBSE and ICSE Term 1 examination in hybrid mode, i.e. both online and offline. The group of six students argued that holding offline exams will put the students at the risk of getting infected. They added that a hybrid model of examinations is a need of the hour as there will be better social distancing.
Furthermore, the particular age group of students who will be appearing for the exams is susceptible to getting infected since they are not vaccinated. The petitioners added that the parents are having to give consent to allow their wards to appear for the examination. Some have even been forced to meet the ends. Hence, they decided to challenge the decision to hold offline exams by both CBSE and ICSE.
Although the apex court dismissed the plea, it instructed that in case there is any sort of shortcomings in the COVID-19 measures, then the concerned authorities should immediately rectify the same. The petition was previously scheduled to be heard on November 15 but it was taken up today and the order was passed.