Cancellation of Class XII Board exams; CBSE, ICSE Assessment Schemes: Fair, reasonable and in larger public interest. Here’s why

Supreme Court: The bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ has refused to interfere with the assessment Scheme propounded by the C.B.S.E or I.C.S.E for the Class XII students and has held that,

“… the stated Schemes are fair and reasonable and take into account concerns of all students and is in larger public interest.”

Let’s have a look at why the Schemes and the decisions of the Boards were challenged:

Decision to cancel the Class XII examinations and declare results on the basis of internal assessment marks as propounded in the Scheme must be set aside and examination must be conducted for academic year 2020-21.

Rejected.

The Argument was rejected on the ground that the Boards have taken decision to cancel the examinations, which according to them, is in larger public interest including the body of students pursuing education with them.

“The fact that other Boards or institutions have been able to conduct examination does not necessarily mean that the Boards before us are bound by that dispensation. The Boards are autonomous Boards and are entitled to evolve their schemes independently.”

The Scheme ought to provide option at the threshold as to whether the student wants to appear in the examination for improvisation of marks, to be conducted by the concerned Board for that purpose. Further, the results of the internal assessment should be declared together with the results of such examination.

Rejected.

“… tweaking the Scheme in any manner, as propounded by the two Boards would result in denial of one option to the students and also delay the declaration of results indefinitely. There would be uncertainty until the examination for improvisation is actually conducted and results are declared.”

The Court explained that if the students are given the option of accepting the internal assessment marks, the results could be declared before 31.07.2021 and despite declaration of those results, they may still have the option of appearing in the examination for improvisation, if they so choose to.

Interestingly, somewhat similar Scheme was adopted in the previous academic year and the body of students accepted the internal assessment results. Hardly, 10 students from I.C.S.E. and 15000 from C.B.S.E. availed of the option to appear in the examination for improvisation of marks.

Past performance of three years of the students is being reckoned for internal assessment in the Scheme propounded by C.B.S.E is unfair and irrational.

Rejected.

The Court refused to take a second look at the Scheme which has been formulated by the expert body which was appointed by the Board consisting of thirteen members after taking all aspects into consideration in order to ensure that no candidate/student is prejudiced.

“… the Scheme intends to rationalize the internal assessment performance and bring semblance of parity amongst the assessment of different schools. This exercise will be undertaken by a broad-based Result Committee.”

Further, the Boards are independent and autonomous bodies and entitled to take their own decision with regard to the affairs of conducting examination by them.

The result should be declared on the same day.

Rejected.

Attorney General sumtted that U.G.C. will be issuing necessary instructions to ensure that the admission process by the colleges and institutions should commence only after the declaration of results by the C.B.S.E. and I.C.S.E., including the State Boards. Hence, ther aforementioned argument was rejected by the Court.

There is possibility of C.B.S.E. schools manipulating the records as the relevant data on the basis of which internal assessment is to be done is not in the custody or in possession of the C.B.S.E.

Rejected.

Stating that the argument was nothing but a vague apprehension, the Court took note of the Attorney General’s submission that the broad-based Result Committee would examine all aspects of the matter and take decision on the basis of registers maintained by the concerned schools, and inspected by the competent authority.

Clarification on conduct of examinations for private, patrachar and second compartment candidates

Examination will be duly conducted in which all these candidates can appear as private candidates and such examination will be conducted between 15.08.2021 to 15.09.2021 and the results would be declared at the earliest so that even these students would be in a position to pursue their further education, if they so desire.

Read the Schemes here

Class XII students’ evaluation scheme by CBSE and ICSE approved by Supreme Court with two additions: Here’s what we know

[Mamta Sharma v. CBSE, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 433, order dated 22.06.2021]


For UOI: Mr. KK Venugopal, Attorney General for India

For CBSE: Mr. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India

For ICSE: Senior Advocate JK Das

For interveners: Senior Advocate Vikas Singh

For Petitioners: Advocates Anshul Gupta and Abhishek Choudhary

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