The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the state government to ensure that there is uninterrupted power supply during the forthcoming Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations in October.
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by activist Vishnu Gawli, drawing the court’s attention to examination centres across the state affected by load-shedding.
The state government told the court that keeping diesel-run generators and inverters at examination centres was “dangerous.” The government’s view on generators was recorded in the minutes of a meeting held between the principal secretary of finance, joint secretary of school education department and secretary of the SSC and HSC board.
The court asked the government counsel to list the reasons for terming generators “dangerous.” The government counsel said generators could not be provided at examination centres as storing diesel would be dangerous.
The court was also told that between 6:30 pm and 10 pm, there was no load shedding to enable students to study. The court, however, asked if steps were being taken to enable students to study then power should be supplied at centres so that students could appear for their exams at ease.
The court was told that out of 281 HSC centres, 54 were affected by load-shedding and of 478 SSC centres, 94 were affected.
The state government submitted that there was an improvement in power supply and the examination board had not received any complaint from parents.
Justice A S Oka and G S Kulkarni, however, observed that there could be no dispute on the issue as it was the responsibility of all the authorities concerned to ensure uninterrupted power supply to examination centres. Contrary to the state government’s opinion on generators, court said it was informed by the board that 59 HSC centres and 94 SSC centres affected by load-shedding had provisions for generators.
The court asked the state government to appoint officers to visit examination centres to check if generators were available and if they were sufficient to cater to the power supply requirements of all the classrooms. The court asked the state government to submit a report before the court by October 23.