The Supreme Court pulled up the Andhra government on Thursday (June 24) for holding the class 12 board exam in the offline mode when 21 states along with the CBSE and CISCE had cancelled it in the wake of the pandemic.
Ruling on an application filed in the court to cancel Class 12 exams in Andhra Pradesh, the apex court said that it will hold the state government responsible “if there is even one fatality” and may order compensation amounting to ₹1 crore in the event of deaths” during the conduct of the in-session Class 12 exams next month.
About 5 lakh students in the state will be appear for the Class 12 board exams, expected to be held next month.
A two-member bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said: “There are states giving ₹1 crore as compensation to families of those who died. We may keep this amount for Andhra Pradesh also.” The court asked, “Why do you (Andhra) deem it necessary to hold classroom exams when there were new, and aggressive, variants of COVID-19 in circulation?”
“There is a new variant – ‘delta plus’. Nobody is clear how it will affect us… Who took the decision to hold these exams and what are the parameters on which the decision was taken?” the court asked.
Earlier on Tuesday (June 22), the Andhra Pradesh government said that it decided to hold the state board exams only because the COVID situation is improving in the state. The court then told the state to file an affidavit.
The Andhra government filed an affidavit on Wednesday (June 23) staying firm on its decision to conduct the offline exam.
The state said it had no choice but to conduct the class 12 exam because it does not trust the schools’ internal marking system.
When the state government said it will seat 15 to 18 students in each room, the court asked, “One issue… in your affidavit you said students will be divided – 15 to 18 students in one room. Have you worked out the number of rooms needed? You require 34,634 rooms… where will you get so many rooms? Are you going to have exams in the open?”
The state responded saying that 34,000 rooms and 50,000 teaching and non-teaching staff (fully vaccinated) have been arranged to conduct the exam.
The SC hearing will continue on Friday (June 24).