The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the petition to conduct the Term 1 exams of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Exams (CISCE) in hybrid mode.
The petition was dismissed by the apex court bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar. However, the bench did state that authorities would be responsible for immediately rectifying any shortcomings in coronavirus measures during the exam.
The Supreme Court bench also stated in today’s hearing that the exams are going to be conducted in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols and regulations.
The petition, filed by six students belonging to the CBSE and CISCE Boards had requested that the Term 1 exams be conducted in hybrid mode, meaning in both online and offline mode. The two boards had earlier decided that the Term 1 exams will be conducted in offline mode only. The petitioners had also mentioned in their plea that being at risk of infection to coronavirus is a violation of their right to health. They also said that social distancing norms could be followed through the hybrid mode.
While the plea mentioned that offline exams were a risk due to COVID-19, the apex court was stern with the petitioners during the hearing, passing strong remarks regarding the subject. It asked the six petitioners to let authorities carry out their tasks and not mess up with the education system by intervening at the last minute.
The examinations for the CBSE Term 1 for Class 10 and Class 12 have begun and the CISCE Class 10 exams will commence from next week. The CBSE has the papers of the minor exams for Classes 10 and 12, while the exams of the major subjects will start from December.
Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India, said that the number of exam centres was increased from 6,500 to 15,000 in order to maintain social distancing and also to minimize traveling time for students.
He said that the petitioners have raised concerns that are already being addressed as only 12 students will be seated in an examination centre while earlier, the seating arrangement was such that 40 students sat in a class. The duration of the exam has also been reduced from 3 hours to 90 minutes.