Calcutta High Court terms Bengal government’s logic behind change in secondary exam timing as ‘bogus’

Justice Biswajit Basu questions why this problem of 'traffic congestion' crossed the minds of the WBBSE in 2024 only

Calcutta High Court (photo: IANS)
Calcutta High Court (photo: IANS)
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IANS

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday, 25 January, termed as “bogus” the logic behind West Bengal government’s decision to prepone the timing of the secondary examinations this year by two hours.

A petition challenging the decision of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) to prepone the secondary examination by two hours to 9.45 am from the earlier 11.45 am came up for hearing before the single-judge bench of justice Biswajit Basu on Thursday.

The state government’s counsel told the court that “traffic congestion” in the late afternoon hours was the main reason behind the WBBSE’s decision.

Terming the logic as “bogus”, justice Basu also questioned why this problem of “traffic congestion” crossed the minds of the WBBSE in 2024 only.

However, justice Basu decided not to intervene in the direction given by the board on the grounds that if things were changed at this late hour it might lead to confusion in the minds of the candidates appearing for the examination this year.

On Thursday, the state government informed the court that it would open a special helpline for the candidates with effect from 30 January. The secondary examinations are scheduled to be held from 2 February.

Justice Basu asked the government to ensure that candidates could reach the authorities through this helpline in case they faced any problem in reaching the examination centres. It also asked the government to ensure that the police assist students on this count.

Recently, the WBBSE issued a notification preponing the starting time of the examination to 9.45 am from 11.45 am earlier. Simultaneously, the West Bengal Council of High Secondary Examination (WBCHSE) also issued a notification on preponing the starting time of higher secondary examinations by two hours to 9.45 am from the earlier 11.45 am.

The decision attracted strong criticism from the two leading teachers’ association in West Bengal namely All Bengal Teachers' Association (ABTA) and Secondary Teaching and Non-teaching Staff Samiti, who claimed that the decision to prepone the examination by two hours will cause immense inconvenience to the examinees as well as those associated with the process of conducting the examinations at different centres.

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