HC gives green signal for holding SSLC exams on July 19 and 22

Court declines to entertain PIL petition seeking cancellation of the class 10 exams in Karnataka

The High Court of Karnataka declined to interfere with the State government’s decision to hold abridged version of the SSLC exams on July 19 and 22 for the academic year 2020-21 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Observing that there is no arbitrariness either in the decision of the Karnataka government to hold the exams or the revised format of exams, the bench said that conduct of exams is in the interest and future of students’ educational and professional career.

However, the court said that the Karnataka government cannot compel students to attend, as parents and their children would collectively decide on this issue.

A division bench comprising Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar passed the order while declining to entertain a PIL petition filed by Singre Gowda, the managing trustee of Gnana Mandira Education Trust, which is running a school in Bengaluru.

The petitioner had sought a direction to cancel the exams while contending that holding of SSLC exams during present pandemic situation poses danger to the health of young children aged around 15 years as the experts are predicting a possible third wave would affect younger children.

However, Advocate-General Prabhuling K. Navadgi pointed out that all the students, who appear for the two-day SSLC exams, would be promoted even if they failed to secure minimum marks. The exams are being planned based on recommendation of the Technical Advisory Committee and by adopting a Standard Operating Procedure to safeguard the health of students attending the exams and the teachers.

Stating that the High Court and Supreme Court had upheld the conduct of SSLC exams in 2020 with SOP, the A-G said that COVID-19 positivity rate is only around 1.48% at present.

The petitioner complained that SSLC students are being discriminated against when compared to students of the second year pre-university courses.

As the government cancelled final exam for II PU students and decided to promote them based on marks obtained in SSLC or equivalent exams, and I PU final exam promotion without holding exams, similar benefit should have been extended to SSLC students, who are younger in age, the petitioner had argued. Even the Class 10 exams of CBSE and ISCE were cancelled for the academic year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the students were promoted.

Contending that in many schools, particularly in rural areas in Karnataka, no classes were conducted for class 10 students, the petitioner claimed even in many urban areas, where classes were conducted through online mode, the students could not properly attend the classes and understand subjects due to internet issue and inability to adjust to online mode of teaching.

Conducting the exams in a new format will not offer more benefit to students, the petitioner argued while pointing out that neither all the teachers or the students have been vaccinated.

While pointing out that many States across the country have cancelled SSLC exams, the petitioner sought a direction to the government to cancel SSLC exams for the academic year 2020-21 and promote all students based on the marks secured in the final exams of classes 8 and 9, and preparatory examination marks of class 10.

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