SC decision on pending CBSE Class 12 exam likely on Wednesday; ICSE plea posted for Thursday

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The Centre and the CBSE told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that discussion on whether to scrap the remaining exams of Class XII from July 1-15 in view of increasing number of COVID-19 cases is at an advanced stage and a decision is likely to be taken on Wednesday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar that the government and the board are aware of the anxiety of students, and authorities will take a decision on the issue soon.

ICSE plea posted for Thursday

The apex court also heard a separate plea on Tuesday which has sought scrapping of the examinations conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The counsel appearing for ICSE told the bench that they would broadly follow the government's decision regarding CBSE exams.

The bench, however, observed that the ICSE can take its own informed decision on the issue. Mehta said that decision taken regarding CBSE exam may not be binding on ICSE.

The top court has posted both the matters for hearing on June 25.

The board last week told the court it will "very shortly" take a decision, after a plea by a group of parents sought to cancel the notification for conducting the remaining class 10 and 12 exams from July 1 to 15 and demanded that the students be awarded marks based on an internal assessment or in line with marks allotted for practical exams.

A similar request has been made by the Maharashtra, Delhi and Odisha governments to the HRD Ministry.

The parents have said in the plea that students could be exposed to COVID-19 infection if they appear for exams amid an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

They have cited that the CBSE has cancelled the examinations of Class 10 and 12 for its around 250 schools situated abroad and the board has decided to award marks on the basis of either practical exams or an internal assessment because of the pandemic.

The CBSE has decided on the fresh schedule of board exams from July 1-15 to ensure that they are completed before competitive examinations. While the engineering entrance exam JEE-Mains is scheduled from July 18-23, the medical entrance exam NEET is to be held on July 26.

"A decision about the two exams will also be taken in accordance with the decision on board exams," the official said.

The CICSE board has already announced that class 10 and 12 students can choose to not appear for pending board exams and be marked as per their performance in pre-board exams or internal assessment.

The board had submitted the proposal before the Bombay High Court last week in response to a petition filed by a parent seeking directions to the authorities to cancel exams in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Universities and schools across the country have been shut since March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shut down as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. A nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which came into effect the next day.

While the government has eased several restrictions, schools and colleges continue to remain closed.

(With inputs from PTI)

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