The Union Government and the Central Board of Secondary Education informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that the remaining exams for Classes 10 and 12, scheduled from July 1 to 15, have been cancelled because of the concerns over the safety of students amid the pandemic. The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education also agreed “in principle” with the decision to cancel the pending exams.
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta said the CBSE had prepared an “assessment scheme” for the cancelled exams.
A proposed notification submitted by the CBSE Controller of Examinations details the scheme. It said the marks of Classes 10 and 12 students who have completed their exams would be based on their performance. For those who have completed exams in more than three subjects, the average marks in their best three performing subjects would be taken for assessing the scores for the cancelled exams. If students have appeared for only three exams, the average of the best two subjects would be taken for assessing the exams missed out in July. In a few cases as in Delhi, if students appeared in one or two subjects, the average of these marks, plus their internal and practical scores, would be used. The results would be declared by July 15.
The court listed the case on June 26, at 10.30 a.m., for passing orders.
The Centre has not yet decided whether NEET and JEE will be held as scheduled in July.
“For Class 12, the CBSE would also conduct an optional examination for papers which were to be held between July 1 and July 15. This optional examination would be held when the situation is more conducive. Candidates whose results were declared as per the assessment scheme can write the optional examination.
Then the marks got in the optional examination, whether higher or lower than the assessment, will be treated as final," the Solicitor General told a three-judge Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar.
But Justice Khanwilkar asked who decides "when conditions would become conducive".
"Will the State decide individually or will it be a pan-India decision taken by the Centre?" Justice Dinesh Maheshwari asked Mr. Mehta.
"That would be dealt with at the Central level..." Mr. Mehta responded.
The Bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, pointed out how conduciveness may differ from State to State and it may not be uniformly conducive across the country at a given point of time.
To this, Mr. Mehta merely said the situation cannot be decided hypothetically now.
Justice Khanwilkar pointed out that "entrance exams for future courses would also have to be re-scheduled".
Parents of the affected students, who are petitioners in this case and represented by advocate Rishi Malhotra, also urged the court to direct the CBSE to declare the assessment results for Class 12 exams by June end. He said many entrance exams are lined up for July.
But Justice Khanwilkar said it was up to the CBSE to work out the details of the assessment scheme.
"Fifty percent of the students may opt for the assessment scheme and the other 50% would opt for better marks... Any problem in the assessment scheme, you (parents) can come," Justice Khanwilkar addressed Mr. Malhotra.
The court however told the CBSE to modify its notification and detail the assessment scheme. The court also asked the CBSE to specify the date for declaration of the assessment results in its notification, which may be issued by June 26 at the latest.
The Bench directed the CBSE to file a detailed affidavit to "give more clarity".
No decision yet on JEE, NEET: MHRD
The Centre has not yet taken any decision on whether NEET and JEE will be held as scheduled in July.
There is “no decision” yet, MHRD Secretary Amit Khare told The Hindu.
The JEE-Main is scheduled to be held between July 18 and 23 and NEET’s undergraduate entrance examination is scheduled for July 26. Both exams are conducted by the National Testing Agency. Appealing to HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Twitter, hundreds of students, who welcomed the decision to cancel the CBSE exams, called for cancellation of the professional entrance exams as well.
(With inputs from Priscilla Jebaraj)