AP State Board Exam: No permission to conduct exam without statement assuring zero fatality, Supreme Court says

  • Shruti Kakkar and Shaheen Parween
  • 01:21 PM, 24 Jun 2021

The Supreme Court today said that it would not permit the State of Andhra’s Pradesh to conduct the State Board Exams until and unless the State places on affidavit a concrete plan ensuring the safety of the students and other staff involved in the examination process.

The vacation bench comprising Justices AM Kahnwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari has directed the state government to place a timeline for declaration of results and a contingency plan with some sort of compensation in case of fatality and posted the matter for further hearing tomorrow.

Adv Shahshibhusan Adgaonkar for petitioners informed the bench that State of AP has not cancelled the exams & State of Kerala is conducting the exam for class 11. He further submitted that NIOS has cancelled the exam but not devised a formula for assessment.

Adgaonkar emphasized on the need for every board to have a uniform scheme for assessment

The Court however said that there cannot be uniform scheme all India. “There are experts who have devised the method. We are not going to pass any order…That's for every board to decide & we are not going to pass any directions for uniform assessment”, said the bench

Adv Mahfooz Nazki appearing for the state of Andhra Pradesh submitted that the state was going to conduct the exams at the end of July and they are not going to cancel the exams.

The Court however not convinced with the state’s decision said “How Have you worked out on the formula to follow the protocol? How are you going to arrange for the requisite rooms? How are you going to divide the students in 34634 rooms? On what basis have you said, not more than 15 students per room?  If you don't have the arrangement, are you going to conduct it in open?”  

How can we permit you to put the life of students at risk?  If we agree, you will have to put before us a proper firm decision..The condition of Covid is different in different states. Now Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh & Kerala have been identified for the delta variant. We're faced with the situation where we'll have to see the situation & ground reality”

The bench further clarified that until and unless the state ensures that the exam would be conducted without any fatality, it would not permit the state to conduct the board exams.

Adv Nazki assured the bench that an affidavit will be placed before the Court with a concrete plan tomorrow.

with regard to the  state of Kerala the Court has directed the petitioner to file a petition before the concerned High Court since the State of Kerala had already conducted the 12th Board Exams and the plea was regarding 11th Class Exams. Since the proceedings were not concerning Class 11th Exams, the bench asked the petitioners to file a separate petition before the High Court.

With regard to the state of Assam, the Court said that an affidavit had been filed stating that they have cancelled the Board Exam. The Court has directed the State to file an affidavit on the board for redressal of grievances after declaration of results.

The Court further observed that NIOS has cancelled the exam & is in the process to formulate a scheme and  directed that scheme be formatted & notified not later than 10days from today & also the results be decalred by July 31st, 2021

Pursuant to Court's order, State of Andhra Pradesh yesterday submitted an affidavit stating that it will conduct State Board Examinations. This development comes in after yesterday’s hearing wherein the Supreme Court came heavily upon the State Government to take a conclusive decision saying, “Do not keep the students under any uncertainty. Mr Nazki, file an affidavit saying that you are going to conduct the exam.”

Following precautionary measures shall be put in place, as per the affidavit submitted:

  1. Exams for class XI and XII will be conducted on alternative days
  2. First year or Second year students are required to appear for 5 or 6 subjects only; 5 subjects for Arts and 6 subjects for Science
  3. Only 15 to 18 students will be allotted to each examination centre
  4. A Social distancing of minimum 5 ft. between each student shall be maintained
  5. All examination centres will be sanitized daily
  6. Masks, Sanitizers, Thermal Scanners will be kept available in every examination centre
  7. Students and teachers shall be subjected to a Thermal Screening before entering the examination centre
  8. Room wise allotment of students shall be displayed at multiple places to avoid crowding at the examination centres

It is further added that, “The Board does not have any check or visibility on the internal examination conducted by various schools. Thus, any assessment based on internal examination in the State of Andhra Pradesh may not yield accurate results.”

Earlier, the Court while taking note of the fact that out of 28 states, 6 states have conducted the exam, 18 states have cancelled the exam and 4 states earlier had directed the petitioner’s counsel to serve the copy to the states who were yet to cancel the state board exams. 

The plea was filed through child rights activists, Advocate Anubha Shrivastava Sahai. It also sought for the constitution of a committee to decide the formula of assessment of students including compartment students and declare the result  within a time limit. 

Advocate Sahai in her plea had averred that due to the pandemic situation some of the State Government’s took decision for cancellation of the Higher Secondary Certificate Examination (“HSC Exam”) which were scheduled formerly for March but in some State Governments have still not taken any decision regarding cancellation of the said exam.

She further contended that HSC Board has still not devised any formula regarding how they are going to assess the students of Class XII for their further admission for professional as well as non professional courses, in the event of cancellation of the exam.

It was also contented by Advocate Sahai that admitting the severe situation of covid 19 and in view of the judgement of the Top Court in the matter of Amit Bathla & Anr. V. CBSE & Ors. (2020) 7 SCC 233, the CICSE/CBSE has partly accepted the judgment of this Hon'ble Court for present academic session of 2020-2021 in respect of class X students by way of issuing the directions not to conduct their· fresh final examination. 

Case Title: Anubha Shrivastava Sahai and Ors v Union of India & Ors.

Also Read: “You Can't Keep The Sword Hanging”: SC Directs State Of Andhra Pradesh To Take Decision With Regards To State Boards Forthwith