CBSE compartment exams: SC directs UGC not to release academic calendar till September 24

The court directed UGC to pause the declaration of the academic calendar until it informs the court by Thursday on when the compartment exam results would be declared

Supreme Court of India (File photo)
Supreme Court of India (File photo)
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NH Web Desk

In the plea seeking extension of college admission deadlines in the wake of the delayed Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) compartment exams, the Supreme Court today directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to not release the academic calendar till September 24, legal news website BarandBench.com has reported.

UGC will inform the Court about the declaration of the compartment exam results by then.

The matter was heard today by a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna.

Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for the petitioners, contended that the compartment exams start from today and end on September 29. Thus, if admissions to colleges are over by the time the results are announced, the students giving these exams would lose out on the opportunity to get admitted for this academic year.

On hearing this submission, Justice Khanwilkar said to the UGC, "This is a peculiar situation and can you make some room for these students. This is an exceptional year and you have to make some room. Academic career of 2 lakh students cannot be hampered. If CBSE declares results by end of October, then you can wrap up admissions by first week of November."

To this, advocate Kurup, appearing for the UGC, stated that the academic calendar was finalised and that it was to be declared yesterday. UGC also submitted that admissions would conclude by the end of October.

However, the court has now directed UGC to pause the declaration of the academic calendar until it informs the court by Thursday on when it would declare the compartment exam results.

"Don't release the academic calendar till Thursday. Let CBSE inform us and then you both coordinate. 2 lakh students is not a small number and we have to work out a solution in this exceptional year. You need to work in tandem with CBSE," Justice Khanwilkar said.

Appearing for CBSE, advocate Rupesh Kumar submitted that since the papers needed to be checked in 16 regional centres, it would take 3 to 4 weeks to declare the results.

The case will now be heard again on September 24, when the UGC is likely to inform the Court when would it declare the results for the compartment exams.

It was argued during the last hearing that there needs to be some solution or direction to the universities so that provisional admissions can be granted to students appearing for the CBSE compartment exams, subject to declaration of the results.

However, Justice Khanwilkar noted that since the students writing these exams have no percentage, provisional admission would not be possible. It further noted that CBSE "was not in a position" to act and that some other agency needed to take a call.

CBSE had informed the Bench that the number of exam centres has been increased to 1,278. He submitted, "We have taken a decision that in a class where 40 students could sit, now only 12 will sit. We are taking all precautions."

The petitioner had argued that it was not clear why CBSE cannot cancel the compartment exams when the main exams were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Counsel for the petitioner said, "The students will ultimately come in the category of failed students, since exams will not be able to be conducted by September and the students will not be able to apply for further studies."

The petition pertains to CBSE's compartment exams, which will be written by 1,50,198 students from Class X and 87,651 students from Class XII.

During the earlier hearing on September 4, the court had asked CBSE to file by September 10 an affidavit revealing details regarding the holding of these exams.

The plea states that on August 4, the CBSE stated that it would not accept the request of the petitioners to cancel the compartment examinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A plea filed by the same petitioner was heard by a Bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar on August 20, when the court had asked her to challenge the August 6 CBSE notification vide a separate substantive petition, instead of challenging the exams altogether.

The plea stated that the CBSE had not disclosed the dates of the compartment examination in the notification, and therefore, the said issue has still not been dealt with.

The plea reads, "It is submitted that, the Petitioners have approached this Hon'ble Court seeking directions to the CBSE to ensure that, the Petitioners and the other students of class 10th and 12th compartment category are not forced to appear in the compartment examination during the peak of COVID 19."

Apart from the plea filed by Ankita Samvedi that was heard today, another petition avers that since most colleges close admissions by August 31, students who have to take the compartment exam (re-test due to inadequate marks in papers) will be left behind the 2020-21 admission cycle.

The plea also seeks to quash the latest decision of the CBSE to conduct the compartment exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is claimed that this decision violates the right to equality, since other CBSE students were exempted from appearing for board exams.

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