SC dismisses plea against Kerala govt’s decision to hold class XI exams physically

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed challenging the Kerala government’s decision to hold class XI (Plus One) exams physically amid rising COVID-19 cases.

New Delhi [India], September 17 : A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said it was convinced with the state government’s explanation of holding exams of class XI plus one. “We are convinced with the explanation offered by the state. We hope and trust that authorities will take all precautions and necessary steps to ensure no untoward situation is faced by students who are of tender age and are appearing in the exam,” the bench said in its order while dismissing the plea.
It said that a detailed affidavit has been filed by the Kerala government and they are taking all responsibilities.
Earlier on September 3, the top court in an interim order had stayed the Kerala government decision to hold the class XI exams physically which were to start from September 6.
The Bench had said that the situation in Kerala was alarming because of the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases and children of tender age can’t be exposed to risk while noting that around 35,000 cases are being reported daily from the state.
The Bench was hearing an appeal against the Kerala High court order refusing to interfere with the decision to hold offline exams.
The appeal filed by one Rasoolshan A stated that holding physical exams when the COVID-19 cases were at peak in the state was a huge risk, especially since the children were not vaccinated.
Around three lakh students will take the exam and as the students pursuing class XI are largely unvaccinated, they are very vulnerable to the virus, advocate Prashant Padmanabhan appearing for Rasoolshan had argued.
Kerala government had defended the decision to hold the exams offline and submitted that all safety protocols has already been taken care of. The state government had stated that holding exams in online mode will prejudicially affect several students belonging to the backward classes who lack access to computers and mobile phones.
Kerala government assured the top court that the exams will be held in strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocol.
The Kerala High Court while observing that conducting Plus One examination was a matter of government policy and that much deliberation had gone into the same, refused to interfere in the matter.
The High Court’s order had come on the plea of some students who had approached the court against the Kerala government decision to hold the class XI exam offline.
They had said that the decision was taken without considering the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic situation prevalent in the state.

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