Attorney General KK Venugopal on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the government would take a final decision on conducting Class 12 board exams amidst the pandemic within two days. The Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari was hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court Advocate Mamta Sharma seeking the cancellation of class 12 board exams of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) considering the pandemic.
"The government will take a final decision within the next two days. We are hoping that your lordships will give us time till Thursday (June 3) so that we can come back with the final decision," the Attorney General said.
"No issue. You take the decision. You are entitled to it. If you are departing from the policy of last year, then you must give tangible reasons for it," the Bench responded while adding that the petitioner hoped that the policy adopted last year would be repeated. Last year, the court had cancelled the remaining board exams and approved an alternate evaluation formula. Venugopal replied that the response of the court would be considered.
"We have no difficulty. You take the decision on what should be appropriate given the situation we are in. Let them take the decision. Depending on that, we will see. We will consider this on Thursday when the in-principle decision is placed before us," the Bench said.
The CBSE had cancelled CBSE class 10 exams earlier on April 14 and suggested postponing class 12 to between July 15-August 26 and declaring its results in September.
"In view of the unprecedented health emergency and rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the conduct of examination (either offline/online/blended) in upcoming weeks is not possible and delay in the examination will cause irreparable loss to the students as time is the essence in taking admission in higher education courses in foreign universities," the plea before the court said while emphasizing that it is the duty of the state to ensure the health and safety of students, and not hamper their higher education and career prospects.