A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in Supreme Court seeking cancellation of all postponed examinations and projects for students enrolled in National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), legal news website LiveLaw.in has reported.
Filed by the father of a student enrolled with NIOS, the petition informs the court of the Institute's decision to postpone, not cancel, Secondary and Senior Secondary Board examinations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was notified on June 30.
The petitioner points out that students would face great difficulties because of NIOS's decision, most prominent amongst which would be the inability to obtain admission in institutions for higher education.
"The decision of NIOS to not cancel the board examination but to further postpone it, is bad and harsh, as it not only ignores the pandemic situation and difficulty faced by the students in appearing for board examination but will deprive students from securing admission in higher education because of delay in declaration of results," says the plea.
To emphasize this point, reliance is placed on the apex court's order dated June 26, 2020, whereby the Central Board of Secondary Education's (CBSE) notification to cancel all pending board examinations for Class X and XII was affirmed. The petitioner also points out that the court had agreed that results must be declared by 15.07.2020, without delay, in order to ensure students are able to secure their admission in institutions of higher education.
In this light, it is contended that "the decision of NIOS to further postpone the Board examination ignores the rationale of the Supreme Court order in CBSE case."
Apprising Court that "the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) also decided to cancel board examination for Class X and XII" subsequently, and is in the process of issuing a notification regarding the same, the petitioner has sought for similar relief.
Pointing out that NIOS's notification came out after the Supreme Court order, the petitioner asserts that the Institute knew that it should have cancelled the examinations, but instead, chose to postpone it "till further orders". Asserting that the HRD Ministry and NIOS should have cancelled the examinations, it is averred that "not doing so is ex-facie illegal, Arbitrary, malicious and malafide, to say the least. Thus, deliberately jeopardising the life, wellbeing and the very existence of the NIOS students."
There are 5-6 lakh students enrolled with NIOS, informs the petitioner, and their lives will be adversely affected due to the action/inaction of the authorities, argues the plea. Invoking Fundamental Rights of the aggrieved, it is reiterated that "students, for no fault of theirs, may stand to lose one year as they will not be able to obtain admission to further studies after school unlike others".
The petitioner, additionally claims to have made representations before the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry as well as the NIOS, but has not received a response. He also states that he had addressed a letter to the CJI and his companion judges, which met with the same fate as his representations.