SC dismisses plea for waiver of exam fees for class 10, 12 CBSE students

The plea sought direction to waive the fee or direct the Centre to pay to CBSE from the PM Care Fund or any other available resources

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the CBSE and the Delhi government to waive exam fees for students of classes 10 and 12 in the current academic year in view of COVID-19 and financial problems being faced by some parents.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah dismissed the petition filed by NGO 'Social Jurist' against the September 28 order of the Delhi High Court.

"How can the court direct the government to do this? You should give a representation to the government... Dismissed," the bench said.

The high court had asked the AAP government and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to treat the PIL as a representation and take a decision "in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the facts of the case" within three weeks.

The appeal said that due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the income of parents has either disappeared or declined to such a level that it has become difficult for them to arrange even two meal for their families.

It said the high court's order has resulted in denial of relief to 30 lakh students in the country and three lakh are in Delhi alone.

The plea, filed through lawyer Ashok Agarwal, said either CBSE be asked to waive off the exams fee or the Centre should pay the money from the PM Cares Fund in the country.

For Delhi students, it said that the AAP government may be asked to do the same.

“It may be stated here that till 2018-19 the CBSE Examination fee of students of class X/ XII was very nominal but in the year 2019-20 respondent CBSE increased Examination fee in manifold.

"In the current year 2020-21, CBSE has demanded Examination fee from Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,800 from students of class X and Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,400 from class XII students depending upon number of subjects, practical, etc,” the plea said.

In the last academic year, the Delhi government had paid examination fees to the CBSE of students of class X and XII, but in 2020-21, it has refused to do so citing financial crunch, it said.

The NGO sought direction to the CBSE to waive the fee or direct the Centre to pay to CBSE from “the PM Care Fund or from any other available resources”, it said.

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