Updated: July 28, 2021 1:35:38 pm
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra Government to consider the formation of a committee of all boards to prepare a common question paper for the common entrance test (CET) for Class 11 or junior college admissions to be held on August 21. The court said that a common question paper can include questions relevant to students who appeared for class 10 exams of boards other than the Maharashtra SSC.
A division bench of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice R I Chagla was hearing a writ petition by ICSE student Ananya Patki of IES Orion School, Dadar, seeking to quash a May-28 notification of the state government which stated that admissions to Class 11 will be based on CET, which would be based solely on the syllabus of the SSC board.
On May 28, the Maharashtra government announced that Class 10 students will be evaluated through an internal assessment formula for the academic year 2020-21. It also said that admissions to Class 11 will be conducted physically through optional CET based on Class 10 syllabus and those unwilling to appear for it will be admitted based on an aggregate of their Class 10 marks.
Advocate Yogesh Patki, the petitioner’s father, told the HC that the syllabus of CET was notified on June 24 and that there are nearly 16 lakh SSC students and 4 lakh ICSE or CBSE students and the test is to be conducted offline.
Patki alleged ‘discrimination and said that his daughter was not in a position to give a physical test and first preference might be given to students who appeared for CET and the interest of his daughter would suffer. He added that the Class 10 results were based on different formulae adopted by different boards and CET based on the SSC board syllabus will cause difficulty to a large number of students from other boards.
On July 22, the court had sought to know from the Maharashtra government as to whether there can be a separate syllabus for CBSE and ICSE students appearing for CET for Class 11 admissions and also asked the state if separate syllabus cannot be adopted, whether the priority for admissions given to only those students who appear for CET can be withdrawn.
However, on Wednesday, government pleader Purnima H Kantharia submitted that as the concerned website crashed, the registration for the CET could not be completed by July 26 and the same was extended for three days. Therefore, the state could not file an affidavit in compliance with the July 22 order which had also asked it to produce data on record showing the number of applications received by it for the CET exam, she added.
Kantharia went on to submit that the SSC board will not be able to venture into the syllabus of ICSE or CBSE and other boards to prepare questions based on it. “You (state) can form a committee consisting of all three boards so that there will be options. If there is an attempt to eliminate students from certain boards, then that is not a solution. How can ICSE or CBSE boards students answer these multiple-choice questions based on topics which are optional subjects for them?” the bench questioned the state.
The court then suggested whether the syllabus of the ICSE and CBSE and other boards can be part of the CET examination. “The respondent state can consider whether there can be more options for students appearing for CET to consider questions of their choices depending on the subjects opted by them (during Class 10 exams),” the HC noted.
The court sought an affidavit in reply from the state and posted a further hearing to August 4 and said that no further adjournments will be allowed. The court also allowed the intervenors to add other boards including International Baccalaureate (IB) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) as parties to the case.
It further clarified that students who have passed Class 10 exams from boards other than SSC may also register for CET with no prejudice to their contentions in the plea.
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