Tamil Nadu

HC refuses to stay conduct of Class X exams for special children

The Madras High Court on Sunday refused to stay the conduct of Class X private examinations for special children, after the State informed the court that all 1,410 candidates with special abilities and 609 scribes had tested negative for COVID-19.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha said they were not inclined to interfere, at the eleventh hour, with the examinations scheduled to be held between Monday and Friday with all safety precautions, as ordered by them early this month.

The judges took the decision following an urgent review petition moved by Balakrishnan Subramaniyan, father of a 24-year-old suffering from cerebral palsy in Tiruchi. His PIL petition was disposed of by the same Bench on September 3. The court had then directed the government authorities to ensure that all special children wanting to write the Class X examinations as private candidates, and their scribes, are subjected to COVID-19 tests at least two days before the examinations.

They were also ordered to ensure adherence to physical distancing norms among the students and the scribes during the examinations. Nevertheless, the review was moved on the ground that special children were susceptible to COVID-19.

Activist and co-founder of The Banyan, Vaishnavi Jayakumar, also participated in the virtual hearing of the review petition on Sunday, and told the judges that special children may not feel comfortable, writing the exams with the assistance of unfamiliar scribes.

On the other hand, a Special Government Pleader informed the court that of the 35,000 private candidates slated to attend the Class X examinations, 1,410 were special children, and of them, 609 required the assistance of scribes. Hence, the officials had subjected both the children and the scribes to COVID-19 tests.

Examination centres were allotted, taking into consideration the special needs of the children, and arrangements had also been made for ensuring adherence to physical distancing norms. Hall tickets were issued to all special children and they were ready to attend the exams, he said.

The present review petitioner’s son alone had not subjected himself to COVID-19 test, though the scribe allotted to him had tested negative, the government pleader said, and urged the court not to interfere with the examinations.

After recording his submissions, the judges allowed the examinations to go on. They, however, directed government officials, the review petitioner and Ms. Jayakumar to file individual reports, after eight weeks, with regard to the hardships, if any, faced by the special children during the examinations.

The court also wanted to know how many special children chose to write the examinations and how many did not.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 3:47:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-refuses-to-stay-conduct-of-class-x-exams-for-special-children/article32655853.ece

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