India Class 12 exams: Supreme Court refuses to order uniform scheme of assessment for all state boards

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said there cannot be a uniform scheme for assessment of Class 12 marks for all state boards across India and refused to pass such an order saying each board is independent and autonomous.

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“We are not going to direct a uniform scheme. Each board is different. We cannot direct a uniform scheme across India. Each board will have to evolve their schemes. They are best persons to know and they have experts to advise them correctly,” said a bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.

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It further directed all State Boards to notify the scheme for assessment within 10 days and to declare the internal assessment results by July 31, like the timeline specified by it for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE).

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The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Anubha Sahai Srivastava seeking cancellation of State Board exams amid the pandemic and uniform assessment criteria for State Boards.

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Meanwhile, the top court questioned the Andhra Pradesh government over its decision to conduct physical exams for Class 12 “tentatively in the last week of July”, saying the state should have a decision and concrete plan and asked how it could play with the lives of students.

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On the Andhra Pradesh government’s affidavit which stated that COVID-19 safety protocols would be followed by ensuring that only 15-18 students would be there in a hall, the Bench asked if it worked out the formula on how it would have around 35,000 rooms for the examination?

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“Simple Math shows you will need 34,634 rooms (for 15 students) or 28,864 rooms (for 18 students), do you have so many rooms? You will need an equal no of invigilators?” the Bench asked.

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“On what basis have you made this declaration in the affidavit that you won’t have more than 15 students per room? You have to show that on the chart and also if you had the information before filing the affidavit,” the bench asked the state.

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The Bench told the advocate for the state: “Unless we are convinced that you are prepared to conduct exam without any fatality, till then we will not allow it. When others (State Boards) have cancelled the exams you cannot hold it to show you are different only. We are not convinced with the commitment that you are making.”

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