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Bombay HC: If students get COVID-19, who will be responsible?

A view of Bombay High Court in Mumbai. File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre


The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the petitioner opposing the decision by the Maharashtra government to cancel Board exams for Class 10: “If students get infected, who will be responsible?”

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Professor Dhananjay Kulkarni challenging the decision to cancel Board exams for Class 10 by the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Board. The PIL sought direction from the court to hold the exams and not mark students without the assessment.

The court asked advocate Uday Warunjikar, appearing for Prof. Kulkarni, if the situation was graver than last year. “The second wave has been more lethal. All over India, most of the States have cancelled the exams,” the court exclaimed.

There were certain bodies entrusted to take decisions on holding or cancelling the exam as a policy matter, the Bench said, and asked if the court could interfere in a policy matter.

“This is a matter of policy where the Executive has taken a decision. It may appear as foolish to you (petitioner) or sometimes even us, but that is no ground for us to interfere. The only ground where we can interfere is when there is manifest arbitrariness and the decision infringes upon a person’s fundamental right,” the court noted.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the court that a Common Entrance Test (CET), to be held by the State Education Board for admission to Class 11, would be open to all Education Boards — SSC, ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education), CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) — and it was not mandatory for all students to appear.

Mr. Warunjikar then said he would like to withdraw and file a fresh petition challenging the government resolution passed on May 28, in which the formula to mark and evaluate students of Class 10 is mentioned. The court allowed this, and dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 2:54:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-hc-if-students-get-covid-19-who-will-be-responsible/article34719317.ece

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