SC not to intervene in Kerala’s plans to hold Plus One examinations offline

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File  

The Supreme Court on Friday decided not to intervene in Kerala government’s plans to conduct Plus One examinations offline, saying the expected third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic did not seem to be an immediate threat.

A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, however, asked the authorities to take every necessary precaution while holding the examinations.

The court said it was satisfied with the reasons and justifications given by the State, represented by advocate G. Prakash, for its decision to conduct Plus One exams offline by following COVID-19 protocol.

The State had reasoned that online examination would prejudice students without access to “electronic gadgets” such as laptops, desktops or even mobile phones.

“Students belonging to the lower strata of society are depending on mobile phones/tabs for attending online classes. In many areas, the Internet connection or mobile data are not available. These students will never be able to write online examinations which will entirely upset the conduct of examination,” the State had argued in its affidavit.

It had said physical examinations would spell an end to many problems which haunt the online mode, including lack of Internet connectivity, etc, while examination process was on.

The issue of shortage of gadgets among students was also eliminated, the State had contended.

Earlier in September, the Supreme Court had stayed the Kerala government order to conduct physical examinations for Class 11 students owing to the “alarming” spread of COVID-19 virus. The examinations had been scheduled to start from September 6.

On September 3, a Bench led by Justice Khanwilkar had found prima facie force in the argument made by petitioner Rasoolshan A., represented by advocate Prashant Padmanabhan, that the State government did not “seriously consider the prevailing situation before having the physical exam in September this year”.

But the State government, later in its affidavit, urged the court to lift the stay order. It had said the examinations could be completed in September, well before October, when experts say the third wave would hit.

It argued that 7.32 lakh students had appeared for JEE (Mains) examinations held in Kerala in August and September.

The affidavit said the State had already conducted the Secondary School Leaving Certificate and Class 12 examinations by adhering to the protocol for the pandemic.

The government listed out the safeguards put in place for the examinations and even undertook to make separate arrangements for students in quarantine or found COVID-19 positive or suspected of having the virus.

It said Plus One marks are added to Plus Two marks to determine the eligibility of the candidate for higher studies, contrary to method adopted by the CBSE and the ICSE.

The conduct of Plus One examinations was necessary to evaluate the students for higher studies.

Plus One examinations needed to be held in a single stroke, ensuring the physical presence of students in centres and thus eliminating chances of leakage of question papers due to Internet failure, etc, the State argued.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 1:52:17 AM |

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