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SC dismisses plea to stay Rajasthan Class X exams

A view of the Supreme Court of India.

A view of the Supreme Court of India.  

In a special Sunday hearing, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea by the mother of a student to stay the Rajasthan government from conducting Class X exams on June 29 and 30 amid a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic.

A three-judge virtual court Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, which assembled at 6.30 p.m., allowed the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education to go ahead with the scheduled exams, which were postponed due to the pandemic and lockdown. The last exam was held on March 18. Exams for the last two papers were interrupted by the lockdown.

Maghi Devi, whose son is taking the exam, had failed to convince the Rajasthan High Court. The High Court had dismissed her case on May 29.

In her appeal before the apex court, Ms. Devi argued that the 120 schools designated as exam centres in the State were used to quarantine and shelter migrant workers. She said 11,86,418 students were scheduled to take the exams.

‘Wrong, illegal’

“Conducting examinations is wrong, illegal and discriminatory for the reason that it jeopardises the health of the students undertaking the exams and thus, amounting to violation of Article 21 and 14 of the Constitution ... The High Court failed to appreciate that the State Board has not given any solution to the practical problems such as the movement of the students residing in the containment zones and the unavailability of private vehicles for all students, thereby restricting the movement,” the petition said.

However, the apex court said the State seemed to have taken the necessary precautions. The Bench said it could not possibly intervene on the basis of a petition filed on the eve of the exam day.

Delay in petition

The Bench pointed out that the petition does not explain the month-long delay in challenging the High Court decision.

But Ms. Devi’s petition refers to the June 26 order of the apex court approving the decision of the CBSE and the ICSE to cancel their exams in July due to the pandemic.

The Bench, however, maintained that judicial intervention in academic matters should be minimum. It referred to a recent decision of the apex court in a similar case concerning the Karnataka State Board.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:38:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-dismisses-plea-to-stay-rajasthan-class-x-exams/article31940229.ece

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