SC lauds Andhra’s ‘pragmatic stand’ to cancel its Class 12 exams

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court on Friday lauded the Andhra Pradesh government’s “pragmatic stand” to cancel its Class 12 exams, saying it will be “very harsh” and “very unpredictable” to expose students to the dangers of the pandemic.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Andhra Pradesh, said the State did not want to do anything that would later “weigh heavy” on its heart, especially when nobody is being held accountable for Kumbh Mela and the West Bengal elections. These two events were reported to be super-spreaders.

Appearing before a Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, Mr. Dave said he had directly contacted Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy about the “sentiments” expressed by the Supreme Court on the conduct of the exam.

Mr. Dave said Mr. Reddy had “gracefully agreed” to cancel the exams as done by other States across the country.

“If the entire country is going in one direction, there is no point going in another direction,” Mr. Dave submitted.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Andhra Pradesh government for its insistence on conducting the exam amid the pandemic. The court had warned that the State would be held responsible even if there was one fatality and even ordered to pay a fine of ₹1 crore as compensation. The Bench had asked whether the State was “trying to prove it was different” by holding the exam when young lives were at stake.

“You could have taken this stand yesterday… We were pushed to say some things which could have been avoided,” Justice Khanwilkar addressed Mr. Dave and advocate Mahfooz A. Nazki, for the State government.

Mr. Dave said the State would form a High-Powered Committee which would consult with experts and decide the internal assessment scheme for evaluating the marks of Class 12 students. The State assured the court that it would adhere to the timelines given by the court. The court had ordered States to finalise their respective assessment schemes in 10 days and declare their results by July 31, in time for University Grants Commission admissions to colleges.

In the hearing, Mr. Dave also submitted that the State had already prepared everything for the exams. It had identified 24,000 places to hold the exams. Nevertheless, the State decided to forgo the arrangements and bow to the court’s sentiments.

Closing the proceedings, Justice Khanwilkar said “all is well that ends well”.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 4:24:21 PM |

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