Case BriefsSupreme Court

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.


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.


“… 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.


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.


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.


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

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ has accepted the schemes presented by CBSE and ICSE for assessment of students who were due to appear in the now cancelled Class XII Board exams.

The Court however, made clear that the scheme must incorporate two aspects:

(i) providing for Dispute Resolution mechanism, in case the students apply for correction of the final result declared by the concerned Boards.

(ii) the time-line to be specified for (a) declaration of the 6 result and (b) the date before which the optional examination will be conducted, subject to conducive situation and logistical constraints.

The Court also rejected the intervenor’s plea that the decision of the CBSE and the ICSE to cancel the examination be re-visited. It, however, gave time to Senior Advocate Vikas Singh to examine the scheme propounded by the concerned Boards and listed the matter on 21st June, 2021. The Court, however, made clear that

“… the concerned Boards are free to notify the final scheme on the above lines and include the two suggestions given by the Court. If any further suggestion is given by Mr. Vikas Singh, learned senior counsel, that matter can be addressed appropriately.”

Key highlights of CBSE’s Scheme

  • Due to cancellation of the Board examinations, the assessment of theory portion of 80/70/60/50/30 marks will be done by the school based on the following:

Class XII: Marks based on Unit Test/Mid-Term/Pre-Board Exam – 40 %

The computation of theory marks for class XII will be based on performance in one or more Unit Test(s)/MidTerm/Pre-Board(s) theory examination. The result committee of the school may decide weightage to be given to each exam based on the credibility and reliability of the assessment.

Class XI: Marks based on theory component of final exam -30 %

Class X: Marks based on average theory component of best three performing subjects out of main 5 subjects – 30 %

This average will be uniformly awarded to all the class XII subjects based on theory weightage. To facilitate ease in entering the theory marks of class X, the Board will provide the marks for the students who have appeared in CBSE class X examinations. For students of other Boards, the schools will have to enter the information based on the class.

  • The marks of Practical/Internal Assessment etc. of class-XII will be on actual basis as uploaded by the school on the CBSE portal.
  • The total marks awarded should be in consonance with the past performance of the school in ClassXII Board Examinations.
  • The computation of theory marks for class XII will be based on performance in one or more Unit Test(s)/MidTerm/Pre-Board(s) theory examination. The result committee of the school may decide weightage to be given to each exam based on the credibility and reliability of the assessment.
  • To ensure standardisation, each school will have to internally moderate the marks to account for the school level variations by using a reliable reference standard.
  • The historical performance of the school, in terms of the best overall performance in the previous three years’ Board examination, will be taken as the reference for moderating the marks assessed by the school for 2020-2021.
  • The subject wise marks assessed by the school for 2020-2021 should be within a range of +/- 5 marks obtained by the students in the school in the subject in the reference year. However, the overall average marks for the school assessed in 2020-2021, for all the subjects, should not exceed the overall average marks obtained by the school by 2 marks in the specific reference year.
  • Once the Result Committee finalizes the marks on the basis of tests/exams, it has to ensure that the marks of students are aligned with the broad distribution of marks provided by the Board. It may be noted that the indicated distribution has to be followed broadly and there may be some difference in terms of number of actual students in each category of the distribution than the one indicated. However, the school subject wise and overall scores should be within the limits provided.
  • Students not satisfied with the Assessment Students who are not satisfied with the assessment, done based on the policy will be given an opportunity to appear in examinations to be conducted by the board when conditions are conducive for holding the examinations. As per this policy, marks scored in later examination will be considered as final.
  • For Private, Patrachar and 2nd chance Compartment candidates etc. Examination will be conducted by the Board as and when the conditions become conducive for conduct of such examinations. The details will be notified in due course.”

Key highlights of ICSE’s Scheme

  1. The components used to arrive at the formula limited to

(i) marks percentage in class X board examinations,

(ii) the Project & Practical Work in the subjects,

(iii) the performance of the candidates in the school examinations in the subjects in classes XI and XII, measured through their best marks obtained in the two years (referred to as raw marks) and (iv) the best performance of the school in the last six years.

  1. The first factor measures the general proficiency of the candidates, the next two factors measure the subject proficiency of the candidates, while the last 5 is a measure of the general quality of the schools the candidates are appearing from.
  2. To arrive at the weights, detailed analyses were performed on the data from the past board examinations from the years 2015 to 2020.
  3. Extensive scenario analyses were done based on different subjects.

[Mamta Sharma v. CBSE, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 430, order dated 17.06.2021]

For UOI: Attorney General KK Venugopal

For CBSE: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta

For ICSE: Senior Advocate JK Das

For Intervenors: Senior Advocate Vikas Singh

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph, JJ has refused to entertain a public interest litigation seeking directions for uniform education with a common syllabus and curriculum for all children aged between 6-14 years across the country.  The Court was hearing the PIL filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

Suggesting to opt “one nation one education board”, the petition had also sought directions from the court to merge the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Petitioner argued that the reliefs which have been claimed are founded on the provisions of Article 21A of the Constitution and on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.

“the present educational system does not provide equal opportunity to students of all strata of society.”

The Court was, however, of the opinion that it is not within the domain of this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution to direct the constitution of a National Education Council or National Education Commission.

“These are matters which fall within the domain of experts. Similarly, the relief which has been of introducing a “standard textbook with a chapter on the Constitution” is a matter of policy. The school syllabus contains subjects bearing on the knowledge of rights, duties and governance under the Constitution.”

Asking the petitioner to approach the Government with his prayer, the Court said,

“The petition lays no foundation or justiciable basis for the Court to issue directions of this nature. … This is nothing but an effort to confer legitimacy on the petitioner’s attempt to enter into an area of educational policy.”

The ICSE and the CBSE are national-level boards of education in the country for schools.

[Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 580 , order dated 17.07.2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and S.S. Shinde, J., adjourned the matter concerning conducting of Class 10th and 12th board examinations by ICSE. The High Court is awaiting the decision relevant to the issue to be passed by the Supreme Court.

Advocate General for the State of Maharashtra — A.A. Kumbhkoni informed the Court that a decision has been taken to not permit the respondent 2 to conduct classes 10th and 12th examinations re-scheduled from July, 2, 2020 given the current COVID-19 situation in the State.

Mr Mehta submits that the State has not taken any decision to prohibit the examinations in the State to be conducted by CBSE and, if indeed, the CBSE is permitted to proceed with the classes 10th and 12th examinations re-scheduled in July, 2020 there could be no valid reason not to permit the second respondent to go ahead with its own examinations.

Bench noted Advocate General for the State’s reaction that, since the Disaster Management Committee of the State has not been required to take a call in respect of examinations to be conducted by the CBSE in the State as per the revised schedule by any order of the Court, no decision as yet has ben taken; but as and when the situation so demands appropriate action would be taken.

Further it was observed that the decision taken by the Central Government and CBSE with regard to examinations shall be taken on 25-06-2020. Counsel on behalf of the State states that depending on the decision of Supreme Court, respondent 2 may work on methodology for completing the results of examinations and therefore Supreme Court’s decision is also awaited.

Thus, in view of the above, High Court’ opinion is that it ought to await the decision relevant to the issue.

State is directed to place before the Court the entire decision by the next date.Hence hearing of the PIL as well as the applications for intervention shall stand over till 29-06-2020. [Arvind Tiwari v. UOI, PIL-CJ-LD-VC-18 of 2020]

Also Read:

Bom HC | Centre and State to clarify stand on CISCE examinations; Courts asks to finalise grading plan to be adopted for evaluation

Bom HC | Students of Class 10th and 12th of 2020 batch can choose to be assessed on pre-board examinations instead of physically appearing for board exams: CISCE

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and S.S. Shinde, J., informed by CISCE that Students of Class 10th and 12th of 2020 Batch can choose to be assessed on pre-board examinations instead of physically appearing for remaining board exams.

Senior Counsel, Darius Khambata for the respondent placed a decision taken by it which encapsulated several options for the examinees of the 2020 Class X as well as Class XII Examinations.

Adding to the above, apart from physical appearance to write the examinations, the decision also gives an option to an examinee, who is not willing to write the examination physically, to have his result completed on the basis of marks obtained by him at the pre-Board examination / internal assessment and also upon taking into account the marks awarded to him in the papers which he has already written.

Bench stated that the decision as arrived by the respondents prima facie appears to be fair and reasonable.

Court thus requested respondent 2 to forward the decision taken to all the Principals of schools affiliated to such respondent with an instruction to share it with the parents of the students on the rolls of such schools.

Further if any suggestion comes, that would be considered on 17th June, 2020. Also State of Maharashtra shall indicate its stand by 17th June, 2020 on the decision taken with regard to the examinations. [Arvind Tiwari v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 716 , decided on 15-06-2020]