NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said it would hear on May 31 a plea seeking directions to cancel Class 12 examinations in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari.
At the outset, the bench asked petitioner Mamta Sharma whether she has served the copy of the plea to the counsel representing the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). When the petitioner said that she will serve the copy of the petition to the parties, the bench observed, “You do it. We will have it on Monday (May 31).”
“We permit the counsel for the petitioner to serve advance copy of the petition to respondents namely the central agency, counsel for the CBSE and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination,” the bench said, adding, “List on Monday (May 31)”.
The petition has arrayed the Centre, the CBSE and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination as respondents in the matter. During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, Justice Maheshwari observed that the CBSE is likely to take a call on this issue on June 1.
The counsel representing the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination told the bench that since the apex court is hearing the matter, the high courts should not deal with it. “Nothing will happen till Monday,” the bench said.
When the petitioner told the bench that the top court can take suo motu cognisance on the issue, the bench said, “Be optimistic. May be by Monday some resolution will be there. Let us have it on Monday.”
The petition has sought directions to the Centre, the CBSE and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination to cancel the Class 12 examinations and devise an “objective methodology” to declare the result within a specific timeframe.
The plea has contended that due to the unprecedented health emergency and surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, it is not possible to conduct the examination and any further delay would cause irreparable loss to the future of students.
The CBSE had earlier said it has not taken any decision yet on Class 12 board examination even as a section of students and parents have been demanding cancellation of exams in view of the pandemic situation.
The board had on April 14 announced cancellation of Class 10 exams and postponement of Class 12 exams in view of the surge in coronavirus cases.