Submit assessment criteria for Class XII students in 2 weeks, SC tells CBSE, ICSE

The Bench clarified that it will not give more time for placement of objective criteria as many students will be taking admissions in colleges in India and abroad. File  

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it was happy that the government chose to cancel the Class XII Board exams and gave the CBSE and ICSE two weeks to place on record the objective criteria by which they intend to assess the performance of the students.

“We are happy you have decided in-principle to cancel the exam… but what are the objective standards [for assessment]... That is not spelt out here in this letter,” Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, the lead judge on the Bench, asked Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre.

Mr. Venugopal said the process for fixing the criteria may take a “little time” and asked the court to anyway dispose of the petition filed by an advocate, Mamta Sharma. The prayer made in the petition had been fulfilled with the cancellation of the exams.

Justice Khanwilkar, however, said the petitioners would want to address the court once the government placed on record the assessment standards.

“Both sides may have issues concerning the objective criteria…” he said.

“Any issue, let them file an application,” Mr. Venugopal replied.

Justice Khanwilkar said the court would prefer to keep the petition pending till the objective criteria were also scrutinised. Initially, the government suggested filing the standards in four weeks, but the court insisted on two weeks.

“The students have apprehensions… Many students want to go outside for further education. This requires an urgent decision. Let the persons concerned interact on a day-to-day basis,” Justice Khanwilkar said.

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, the other judge on the Bench, also asked why the government needed even two weeks, as objective criteria for assessment had also been notified last year when the Board exams were similarly cancelled due to the pandemic.

The ICSE, represented by advocate J.K. Das, urged the court to give more time, at least three weeks, to prepare the criteria for assessment.

“If you want to do it [finalise the objective criteria], you can do it overnight… Everything can now be done on video conferencing… Don’t bargain for time like this… Do not force us to pass directions. Do it on your own,” Justice Khanwilkar addressed Mr. Das.

Ms. Sharma also raised the case of exams of Class XII students under the State Boards. She said the decision on the exams should be “uniform” across all Boards.

“Let the CBSE/ICSE problem get over… You had only asked for CBSE/ICSE Class XII exams… Now do not ask for the heavens,” Justice Khanwilkar said.

The petitioner earlier argued against the deferment of the CBSE and ICSE exams to an unspecified date. She had said students could not be made to suffer uncertainty in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis posed by the COVID pandemic.

The court adjourned the case by two weeks.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 3:59:56 PM |

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