The state government informed the Bombay High Court on Friday that around 1,400 examination centres in Maharashtra are unaffected by load shedding.
The court is hearing a PIL filed by Navi Mumbai-based social activist Vishnu Gawli,complaining that students appearing for class 10th and 12th examinations have to write their papers without the benefit of lights and fans due to frequent power-cuts.
But on Friday,the SSC Board lawyer told the High Court that there are 1,389 exam centres which do not use any electrical appliances.
Does this mean that there is no electricity in these areas? asked stunned Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar. But the counsel had no further information on this. On the last occasion,the court had ordered the SSC board to provide generator sets to all examination centres.
According to affidavit filed by Tukaram Supe,boards secretary,287 examination centres have gen-sets or inverters.
As many as 2,608 centres are not affected by load shedding,either because there is no power cut in the respective areas,or the centres are airy enough and have natural light,the affidavit states. So,there are 1,255 centres hit by power cuts,of which 463 have rented generator sets,it said.
Gawli,the petitioner,however told the court there were hundreds of centres in rural Maharashtra where power cuts are rampant and the affidavit does not reflect the true facts.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Kumar and Dhananjay Chandrachud then set up a committee of Education Secretary,Managing Director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) and a board representative.
The court has also directed the Education Department to issue a circular stating if the schools dont comply with HC order in this regard,action will be taken against them. The court also said there should be surprise checks to ensure that power supply is being provided to exam centres.The hearing has been adjourned for two weeks.