Supreme Court refuses to cancel offline board exams for classes 10, 12

The bench observed that such petition creates \'false hope\' and \'confusion\' all over

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking cancellation of offline board examinations for classes 10 and 12 to be conducted by the CBSE and several other boards this year, saying such petitions give “false hope” and create “confusion” among students who are going to appear in these exams.

The apex court observed that the petition is “ill-advised” and “premature” and the authorities are yet to take appropriate decision with regard to conducting exams of the various boards.

“Such petitions give false hope to the persons who are going to appear in the examinations. Those students will be misled by this petition. Let the authorities take decision. If the decision is wrong, challenge that decision. Here, you want to pre-empt everything,” a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar told the lawyer appearing for the petitioners.

“This creates not only false hopes, it creates confusion all over to students who are preparing,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar.

The counsel appearing for the petitioners said that most of the state boards have not yet declared the dates for examinations.

“Whenever examination is due, they will declare those dates, what is the problem,” the bench observed.

At the outset, the counsel appearing for the petitioners, A S Sahai and others, referred to the order passed by the apex court last year in the matter pertaining to board exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bench said what had happened in the past cannot be the basis to pass order now.

“Entertaining such petitions is creating more confusion in the system. Let the authorities take decision,” the bench said.

“What kind of petitions are being filed,” the top court said, adding, “It is not that because they were entertained last year because of the peculiar circumstances and situation, we will go on and this will become a norm.”

The counsel argued that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had conducted the first term board examination in December last year in offline mode and the results have not been published yet.

He said that time limit for declaration of results is very important.

The counsel said the situation is highly uncertain for the students and the MBBS admissions for 2021 is not yet complete.

The bench said the authorities will look into all the aspects and the petitioners can make representation there and they will take appropriate decision as per the prevailing situation.

When the counsel representing the petitioners said he would confine it to two prayers, the bench said, “We will not issue any directions. They are doing their job. If that action is wrong, you challenge that action, we understand that.”

It said there are rules and regulations in place and the authorities will be working in tandem on the issue.

The counsel argued that classes were not properly conducted in most of the states.

The bench said the authorities are aware of the situations and they are supervising it.

After the counsel referred to the ongoing Assembly elections in some states including Uttar Pradesh, the bench observed, “This is something which is unheard of. What kind of public interest litigation is this.”

The counsel argued that exam dates of most of the boards have not been declared yet and it would further delay the admissions process.

“Who are you to decide that? Who are you and who are we to decide those dates? They know the ground realities. They have to make logistical arrangements. They will take overall view of the situation and then take a decision,” the bench said.

When the counsel requested the apex court to keep the petition pending, the bench initially observed that it will dismiss the plea with cost.

“In our opinion, this petition is ill-advised. It is premature. The authorities are yet to take appropriate decision with regard to conducting ensuing examinations in the respective boards,” the bench said.

It said if the decision is not in accordance with the provisions of the concerned Act and rules or applicable regulations, it is open to the aggrieved persons to set up challenge in that regard which can be considered on its own merits.

“Nothing more is required to be said. Dismissed,” the bench said.

The top court observed that such kind of petition misleads and in the past three days, it has seen there are news items everywhere on this.

“What kind of petitions are being filed and what kind of publicity is given to this issue,” it said, adding, “This has to stop”.

“Let the students do their job and let the authorities do their job,” the bench observed.

The plea had sought directions to the CBSE and other education boards, which have proposed to hold board examinations for classes 10 and 12 in offline mode, to devise alternate modes of assessment.

The CBSE has decided to conduct term two board exams for class 10 and class 12 from April 26.

The plea was mentioned before the bench on Tuesday for urgent listing and the court had said that it would hear the matter on Wednesday.

The counsel, appearing for the petitioners, had told the bench that the apex court had passed orders in 2020 and 2021 regarding class 10 and 12 board exams and this year also, the same problem is there.

On June 17 last year, the top court had approved the assessment schemes of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and the CBSE, which had adopted the 30:30:40 formula for evaluation of marks for students of 12th standard based on results of class 10, 11 and 12 respectively.

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