A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar of the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea challenging the decision of the Kerala government to hold offline physical exams for Class 11 students. The bench said that a detailed affidavit has been filed, and all measures are being taken to fulfil covid protocol. A holistic approach has been adopted in the matter, and authorities are aware of their duties, the bench noted.
"We are convinced by the explanation offered by the state and trust authorities will take all precautions and necessary steps so that no untoward situation is faced by students who are of tender age and appearing for the proposed examination. Dismissed," the bench said.
Earlier, on September 3, the apex court had stayed the state's decision to conduct offline exams commencing from September 6 by a week. The bench explained its earlier intervention saying there was a possibility of a third wave of Covid-19 in September. However, "Third wave is not in offing immediately," the bench said.
In the detailed affidavit submitted to the SC, the Kerala government explained that online examinations would disadvantage students with no access to laptops or mobile phones.
"The conduct of examination through online mode will prejudice a large number of students who have no access to laptops, desktops or even mobile phones. The students belonging to the lower strata of society are depending on mobile phones or tablets for attending online classes. "In many areas, internet connection or mobile data are not available. These students will never be able to write online examinations," the state government had told the court.
Responding to the court's verdict, state General Education Minister V Sivankutty said that a majority of students prefer offline exams. The exams will be held without any difficulties for these students. Furthermore, the new exam schedule would be fixed once the details of the Supreme Court verdict are available, he added.