Supreme Court Accepts Notification of CBSE for Cancellation of X and XII Class Exams in Light COVID-19

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On June 26, 2020, the Supreme Court accepted the notification issued by CBSE. The notification provides for the cancellation of Class X and Class XII board exams in light of the COVID-19 crisis. A three-judge bench comprised of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Sanjiv Khanna also disposed of all litigations on the subject matter pending in other Courts.

Petitioner’s Submission

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for CBSE and the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. CBSE had informed the Court that some of the important areas of the marks averaging mechanism would be:

  • For the students of classes X and XII, who have completed all their examinations, their results will be declared based on their performance in the examinations.
  • Students who couldn’t appear in all the exams will get average marks based on the marks obtained in other subjects.

Advocate Shoumendu Mukherjee added that results based on the assessment of previous exams would be released by July 15.

Certain Observations

The Bench directed Mr Mehta to mention the date of the announcement of results and a detailed timeline in the notification itself. Mr Mehta replied that the notification would be issued latest by 26 June.

The petitioners in the CBSE case highlighted that according to data by AIIMS, the COVID-19 pandemic would be at its peak in India during the scheduled date of the exams. In this light, it would be a huge risk to hold board exams from July 1 even though the number of exams centres stands increased. Moreover, the pandemic overpowers the assurance provided by the authorities to ensure proper safety.

The present petition also combined another petition filed through Advocate-on-Record and Khaitan & Co. Partner Vanita Bhargava. This plea also calls for the cancellation of board exams of Class X and XII students due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Court’s Order

The Bench made it clear that this order ‘only’ deals with CBSE and ICSE exams. The Bench had asked the CBSE to clarify its stance in the reply filed before the Court. Further, Justice Khanwilkar said that “If you see the dates, you will hold exams for Class 12 some time. So dates for other exams need to be postponed.”

However, Justice SG Mehta replied and emphasised that admissions will now be only on the assessment criteria. Moreover, the Court accepted the notification issued by CBSE. The Court also directed ICSE to provide a similar notification.


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