The Bombay High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the decision of the Maharashtra government to cancel the Class 10 board exams. The court has taken a clear stand that the health of the students is the priority and questioned the petitioner if he will take responsibility for the safety of students who go to write physical examination amid the pandemic. However, the HC gave the petitioner the liberty to withdraw and file a separate PIL challenging the evaluation criteria of Maharashtra SSC Exam 2021. The HC has asked the petitioner to file a fresh PIL if interested.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing the matter. The PIL was filed by Dhananjay Kulkarni, a professor based in Pune. “What is the manifest arbitrariness? Why do you say that these exams need to be held? Tomorrow if students get affected (with COVID-19) then who will take responsibility? Are you (petitioner) willing to take responsibility?" Chief Justice Datta said.
The Maharashtra government has earlier announced the non-examination route for the evaluation of the Maharashtra SSC exam 2021.
The HC said the decision on the Class 10 exams was taken by the Executive on a matter of policy. “The only ground where we can interfere is when there is manifest arbitrariness and the decision infringes upon a person’s fundamental right," the bench said
Several other states as well as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) have scrapped the Class 12 board examination this year.
Several pleas seeking cancellation of the exam were filed across courts in the country. The courts have decided in the favor of the students and prioritise their health. As the experts, the second wave of the COVID-19 has a greater impact on children as they have also faced several hardships due to the pandemic.