The remaining Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) Board examinations for classes X and XII, scheduled to be held in July, have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court was informed on Thursday.
The examinees of Class XII of CBSE Board will however have the option of either taking the exams later or to move ahead with the assessment based on their performance in the last exams.
The re-exam option will not be available to class X students.
The option of re-examination would not be available to the ICSE Board students — neither Class XII, nor Class X.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar took note of submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the CBSE that Class X and XII board examinations scheduled from July 1-15 have been cancelled and re-examination for XII would take place when the situation becomes conducive.
The CBSE said that it was formulating a scheme to give options to students of Class XII only — for re-examination or assessment based on past performance.
“Counsel for the respondents (CBSE and the Centre) has submitted a short affidavit… Controller of Examinations in CBSE… List these matters tomorrow that is June 26, at 10.30 am, for passing appropriate orders,” said the bench which also comprised Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna.
The top court, which has asked the CBSE to come out with a fresh notification, will on Friday deal with the issues of option of re-examination for Class XII, internal assessment, date of results and status of re-examination keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation in different states.
It also sought to know from the Centre and the CBSE as to when the results would be out as also the beginning of the academic session of 2020-21.
The results may be declared in mid-August, the CBSE said.
The ICSE however informed the bench that it will not be giving re-examination option to students of Class X and XII and the results would be declared on the basis of past performances.
“You have said that you will conduct exams when the situation is conducive. But the situation may be different from state to state… Will the decision be taken by a central authority or will the state take the decision. How are you going to deal with that situation,” the bench said while asking CBSE to come up with the fresh notification.
The bench said the CBSE notification should indicate the scheme for internal assessment and give a timeline.
“The notification will be issued by tomorrow,” the law officer said.
During the hearing, the top court was informed that states like Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have conveyed their inability to conduct Board exams.
The top court was hearing pleas seeking relief, including scrapping of remaining exams of Class XII scheduled from July 1-15, in view of increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
Similar relief was sought by the ICSE Board also.
Earlier, the Centre and the CBSE had told the court that an expert body is in the process of taking final decision ‘very shortly’ on the issue of whether to scrap the remaining exams of Class XII scheduled from July 1-15 in view of increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
The top court was also hearing a separate plea seeking quashing of the May 18 notification of CBSE by which the date sheet for remaining exams of Class XII was declared.
One of the pleas, filed by some parents of students appearing for the exam, sought a direction to the CBSE to declare the results on the basis of the exam already conducted and to calculate it on an average basis with internal assessment marks of remaining subjects.
The ICSE Board has said it would broadly follow the government’s decision on CBSE exams.
The CBSE Class XII exams had started on February 15 and were to conclude on April 3.
The Class X exams had started on February 21 and were to end on March 29.
The ICSE Board had postponed its Class X and XII examinations due to a coronavirus outbreak and they were to end on March 31.
However, the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COIVD-19) pandemic came into force from March 25.
Raising concern over the safety of lakhs of students, a plea said that students might be exposed to COVID-19 infection if they have to appear in the examinations amid increase in number of cases of virus infection.
‘The said petition would also demonstrate the extent of discriminatory and arbitrariness conduct of the respondent/CBSE in issuing the notification for holding of the remaining examination and that too in the month of July, 2020 wherein as per the AIIMS data, the said COVID-19 pandemic would be at its peak,’ the plea said.
It stated that considering the gravity of COVID-19 pandemic, the CBSE has cancelled the examinations of Class X and XII for its around 250 schools which are situated abroad and has adopted the criteria of awarding marks on the basis of either practical exams conducted or the internal assessment marks.