Madras High Court Discards Tamil Nadu’s Decision to Conduct Class 10 Board Exams

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Madras High Court heard the case for conducting class X Board exams on June 15 by Tamil Nadu’s government. It contended so, as COVID-19 cases may increase to two lakh in the future. It relied on expert opinions as published by news reports.

The respective bench passed no interim order. The matter got adjourned to June 11. The state asked to put forth their view on the issue. Moreover, it directed the government to file a detailed report on all the precautions for conducting exams. 

After the commencement of the hearing, the issue before the Court was, “Whether the government can give an undertaking that no student will get COVID-19 infection if allowed to conduct the exams from June 15?”.

Respondent’s Argument

Advocate General Vijay Narayan, on behalf of the respondent, relied on expert opinions. These were published in news reports. The reports stated that COVID-19 cases could increase to two lakh or even exceed in the coming days. He contended, “therefore, this is the right time to conduct the exams.” 

He also highlighted CBSE’s move to hold Class XII exams. It was submitted that there are over 200 schools affiliated to CBSE in the state, and none of them complained. Arguing further, he said, “We do not know why only the state board schools are a target.” He added, “if not now, it would be difficult to hold them at a later date.”

Court’s observation

The bench asked why Class X students were being forced to write the exams given that the government did not agree to open educational institutions. Until COVID-19 threat reduction, there was no need to make any decisions. 

He requested rescheduling the exams because the lives of more than nine lakh students would be at stake. The request was in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The division bench of justices Vineet Kothari and R Suresh Kumar heard teachers’ association petition. They rejected the government’s decision to hold exams during this pandemic. They restricted the state from moving ahead and conducting exams. 

The Court abstained from putting lives of more than nine lakh students at stake. They differentiated it from opening TASMAC (liquor) shops during the lockdown.


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