In the case of Minor T Mohamed Humayun and Ors. v State of Tamil Nadu and Ors., on 20th August 2020, The Madras High Court has dismissed a batch of pleas challenging the procedure adopted by the Tamil Nadu government to evaluate the academic performance of Class X students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brief Facts of the Case
The Tamil Nadu government had announced that final exams for Class X students would be cancelled in view of the pandemic. All students in the state would be passed this year without the conduct of exams.
Additionally, the state government also informed that Class X students would be evaluated by considering the marks secured in quarterly and half-yearly examinations and attendance (given 80% and 20% weightage respectively).
This evaluation method was challenged by a group of Class X students before the Madras High Court.
Arguments of the Petitioners
The counsel for the petitioners submitted that during the academic year 2019-20, the 2nd respondent had introduced a new syllabus for the first time and the topics that were included, were even new for the teachers who taught the students. He further submitted that the new syllabus was introduced only after the quarterly exams were over.
He further submitted that only during the month of December 2019, the students and the teachers became aware of the changes that took place in the syllabus as well as the pattern of the Examination.
The learned Senior Counsel submitted that the method adopted in the Government Order for awarding marks will have a very serious impact on the future of the students since it is these marks on the basis of which students will be admitted to the 11th standard and not only that it will have an impact on the student’s job too.
Arguments of the Respondent
The counsel for the Government submitted that while taking this decision, the Government took into consideration the general interest of all the students and the majority of them never had any grievance before. The learned Special Government Pleader submitted that if this Court interferes with the Government Order at this stage, it will have a cascading effect and in the given circumstances, reversing the entire process is almost impossible
Justice Anand Venkatesh observed that:
“It may be possible that some of the students are not happy with the method suggested by the Government or it is also possible that there are some alternative or effective methods available to award marks to the students. That by itself cannot be a ground for this Court to interfere with the decision taken by the Government. These are areas which should be safely left within the domain of governance and the Courts must be very slow to interfere with such decisions.”
The petitions challenging the Government Order were therefore dismissed by the Court.
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