The Maharashtra government on Tuesday informed the Bombay High Court that it has the power, and authority to regulate and, if necessary, completely prevent the holding of CISCE board exams of pending papers of class 10 and 12 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deputy Secretary of the State School education department Rajendra Pawar filed an affidavit in reply as per the direction of the bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta that had on Monday asked the state to respond indicating its consideration of the CISCE decision.
“The state of Maharashtra cannot permit any activity being conducted by whosoever in the state, which has inherent potential of spreading of coronavirus amongst the residents,” the state said.
The Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) on Monday informed the Bombay High Court that it will not force students to appear for the remaining exams for Class X and XII in July.
The CISCE had submitted its decision to a plea by advocate Arvind Raghunath Tiwari, also the parent of an ICSE student, who sought a court direction to the authorities to cancel the rescheduled exams in view of the pandemic and declare results on the basis of past performance in the papers for which exams have not been held yet.
The Council said it has decided to offer students two options — they can appear for the remaining papers as per the revised schedule or they could opt out, in which case final results will be based on their performance in internal assessment or pre-board exams.
The state education department’s affidavit in response to the Board’s decision stated, “It is very difficult to guess with any reasonable certainty about the ground realities that will hold the field in the month of July 2020 not only in our state but also in the whole country, about the spread of coronavirus.”
The affidavit further stated that coronavirus can spread through papers and holding exams involves handling of papers on a large scale and by thousands of persons.
The state said, “One of the aspects that are known about the coronavirus is that it travels through the medium of paper from one infected person to another. Conducting of examination as proposed by the CISCE and declaration of its result does involve the handling of papers on a very large scale and by a large number of human beings. That too under varied circumstances and at numerous places.”
The affidavit added, “Therefore, it is inherently dangerous from the point of view of public safety and the safety of the children to permit holding of such examinations, especially as of this date.”
The state further said that depending on how many students opt to actually appear for the physical exams, it will be able to take a final decision. The HC will hear Tiwari’s plea along with other intervention pleas on Wednesday.
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