Tamil Nadu

HC questions ‘tearing hurry’ to hold Class X examinations

New normal A teacher giving away hall tickets and masks to Class 10 students at a school in Chennai on Thursday. The SSLC examinations in Tamil Nadu will now be held from June 15 to 25 after being postponed for the lockdown,. B. Jothi Ramalingam

New normal A teacher giving away hall tickets and masks to Class 10 students at a school in Chennai on Thursday. The SSLC examinations in Tamil Nadu will now be held from June 15 to 25 after being postponed for the lockdown,. B. Jothi Ramalingam  

T.N. told to list out States where exams have been held

The Madras High Court on Monday questioned the Tamil Nadu government on what the “tearing hurry” was to conduct the Class X board examinations, when the number of COVID-19 cases was on the rise.

Separately, Opposition parties led by the DMK and the ruling AIADMK’s ally, the PMK, urged the government to revoke its decision to hold the exams.

While the court posed tough questions to the government, it did not restrain it, for the present, from going ahead with the decision.

Justices Vineet Kothari and R. Suresh Kumar granted time till Thursday for Advocate General (AG) Vijay Narayan to submit a report listing out the number of States where board examinations had already been conducted and other related details.

The questions were raised by the Bench during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the government’s decision, filed by the Tamil Nadu High and Higher Secondary Graduate Teachers Association through senior counsel N.R. Elango and advocate V. Arun.

The AG, however, said that it would be better to hold the examinations now than wait. Pointing out that there was great uncertainty over the spread of the disease with even countries like the U.S. reporting thousands of cases, he said that it would be difficult to conduct exams later if the number of COVID-19 cases kept rising.

He said that the Centre had exempted the conduct of board examinations from the lockdown and added that the CBSE itself was slated to conduct Class XII examinations across the country from July 1.

Asked how the lives of 9.79 lakh Class X students and over two lakh teachers could be put at risk, the AG said that all measures had been put in place to safeguard them. “Originally, the exams were to be conducted in 3,825 centres from March 27 to April 13. After postponement, we have now decided to conduct the exams in 12,690 centres between June 15 and 25,” he added.

Only 10 students would be assigned to an examination hall spread over 400 square ft., as against the normal practice of accommodating 20 students. Candidates would be given three reusable face masks.

In all, 46.37 lakh face masks would be distributed to students, teachers and others apart from providing soap, running water and hand sanitisers. The examination centre would also be disinfected twice daily, the AG said.

Besides, special examination centres would be set up for students residing in containment zones to prevent them from mingling with others and adequate transport facilities would also be provided.

Asked about the worst case scenario of a student testing positive for COVID-19 and dying, Mr. Narayan said that nobody could be held responsible if any such incident occurred despite precautions. He claimed that many parents and students actually wanted the examinations to be conducted at the earliest.

Explaining the reason for the government’s decision to conduct examinations despite not allowing any school or college to function, the AG cited the difficulty in following physical distancing norms if schools were allowed to reopen.

After hearing both sides, the judges decided to take a final call on the issue on Thursday when other pending cases on the same issue would also be taken up.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 10:37:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-questions-tearing-hurry-to-hold-class-x-examinations/article31782745.ece

Next Story