Updated: September 4, 2021 3:18:23 am
SUPREME COURT Friday stayed the Kerala government’s decision to hold offline exams for Class 11 students, saying the Covid-19 situation in the state is “alarming” and that “children of tender age cannot be exposed to risk”.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar pointed to the continued rise in Covid-19 cases in the state, amounting to about 70 per cent of the national figures, and said the state government does not seem to have taken this into account while deciding to hold the exams in physical mode.
The bench also comprising Justices Hrishikesh Roy and C T Ravikumar was hearing an appeal by Kerala resident A Rasoolshan against the High Court’s decision refusing to intervene in the decision to conduct the physical exams. “There is an alarming situation in Kerala. It accounts for more than 70% cases of the country, with around 30,000 daily cases. Children of tender age cannot be exposed to risk,” observed Justice Khanwilkar.
Defending its decision, the state government said it had held Secondary School Leaving Certificate exams in April this year without any problem prompting the bench to ask if the state had taken into consideration the changed situation.
Expressing anguish on the pandemic situation in the state, Justice Roy said he had been Chief Justice of Kerala and can say that it has one of the best medical infrastructures in the country. “Despite that, Kerala has not been able to contain the Covid cases,” he said.
Justice Ravikumar expressed the fear that mixing of students from various parts may lead to a super spread of the infection.
The bench asked the counsel appearing for Kerala to assure that no student will be infected and added that it will hold the state accountable if even one case is reported. However, he could not do so following which the state ordered the stay.
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