The Supreme Court on Wednesday has refused to interfere in Karnataka Government’s decision to conduct Class 10 SSLC Board examinations in Karnataka as scheduled, from June 25 to July 4.
A three-judge Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S Ravindra Bhat dismissed the petition filed challenging order of the Karnataka High Court dated May 27th, whereby the Court had decided to not interfere in the proposed Class 10 State board exams to be held in State of Karnataka from June 25 during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Apex Court, the Karnataka High Court was right in holding that Constitutional Courts cannot interfere in academic matters.
The Bench also added that an alternative option of appearing at a later date can be provided to the students, so if the students cannot appear on June 25, then an exam can be taken 2 months later.
The special leave petition was filed by an educationist from Karnataka, Rajshree who runs institutions in Belagavi district. According to the petitioners, the interference of constitutional courts in academic matters is warranted in the face of a violation of the constitutional rights of minor students who would be made to travel in impossible conditions, and participate in the Board exams with hundreds of people at a single centre and no facilities of testing for COVID-19. Therefore, the High Court’s reasoning that constitutional courts do not interfere in academic matters is not correct since this issue affects the Right to life and health of children.
The petition also pointed out a fault in the Standard Operating Procedure of the Karnataka Government, as it has allowed two students to sit on one bench and on being found with any COVID-19 symptoms the students would be made to sit in a different room, instead of being sent back home.
Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that , having 8.5 lakh children, their parents and thousands of staff travel and gather in and around over 3,000 exam centres across Karnataka is a serious health risk notwithstanding various SOPs and guidelines.
According to petitioner, the exam will violate the right to life and health of minor students, which can be protected by promoting them based on internal assessment marks, as many states have done.
-India Legal Bureau
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