Kerala HC Seeks Response From Govt Regarding Its Decision to Not Award Grace to SSLC and Plus Two Students

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After petitions were filed by aggrieved students and the Kerala Students Union challenging the decision of the Government in changing its policy regarding grant of grace marks and deciding that grace marks would not be awarded to SSLC and Plus two students, the Kerala High Court sought a reply from the State Government regarding its grace marks policy.

Background of the Case

On 5th July 2021, a writ petition was filed by a student of Class 10 of PTMHS, Kodiyathur in Kozhikode before the Kerala High Court, challenging the decision of the State government in not granting grace marks to SSLC and Plus two students who had taken part in extracurricular activities. The petition had stated that the decision of the government is arbitrary and unsustainable.”

The present petition was filed by Kerala Students Union (KSU) as a public interest litigation on behalf of students who were aggrieved by the decision of the State General Education Department to not award grace marks for SSLC and Plus two students.

Arguments before the Court

It was alleged by the petitioner that due notice was not issued  to the students before departing from the general norm of granting grace marks to students for extracurricular activities. It was contended that the sudden change would affect the academic future of the students.

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The State contended that no extracurricular activities were undertaken during the academic year 2020-2021 as the schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it was contended by the petitioner that various programmes were conducted by Scouts and Guides, Student Police Cadet (SPC), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Junior Red Cross (JRC) and National Service Scheme (NSS) during the pandemic under the instructions given by the school authorities. Additionally, it was stated by the petitioner that these organizations played a crucial role during the pandemic by extending services to the needy amidst the lockdown.”

These services include distributing meals, sanitizers, face masks etc. The petitioner also placed reliance on the order passed in the case of Philip Xavier Antony v. Vice Chancellor, MG University Kottayam & Ors. [2017 (5) KHC 992], in which it was held that a “beneficial approach of awarding grace marks should be followed as students who take part in extracurricular activities as substantial time is spent in participating in those activities.

Observations

Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly after hearing the matter and considering the arguments, sought reply from the State government regarding their policy pertaining to grace marks.

Decision of the Court

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The Court directed the State to file its reply by 22nd July 2021. Accordingly, the matter has been listed.

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