Court slams TN for class 10 exams, students’ fate to be decided June 11

The Madras High Court questioned the Tamil Nadu government on plans of conducting Class 10 board exams from June 15. The court said that when the state government has not decided to open schools and colleges until Covid-19 situation subsides, how can 9 lakh students, 2 lakh teachers and thousands of non-teaching staff be forced to risk their lives attending class 10 board exams from June 15.

High Court on Monday adjourned to June 11 further hearing on the batch of PIL petitions challenging the conduct of Class X public exams rescheduled to commence from June 15, without passing any interim order, on Monday.

During the arguments in the morning session, the bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and R Suresh Kumar grilled the government counsel with a series of questions, which raised the hope that the bench may pass some interim orders against holding the exams from June 15.

The court said it cannot put lives of more than nine lakh students at stake and asked the government to consider postponement of the exams in view of soaring COVID-19cases across the state, where the tally as of Monday stood at 33,229.

Hearing a petition by a teachers’ association challenging the government’s decision to conduct the exams amid the pandemic, a division bench of justices Vineet Kothari and R Suresh Kumar made it clear it was prima facie convinced that the state has to be restrained from going ahead with the schedule.

We cannot allow the state to put lives of more than nine lakh students at stake. This is not like opening TASMAC (liquor) shops during lockdown, the court said. However, the bench restrained itself from passing any interim order and adjourned the hearing to June 11 directing the state to inform its stand.

The petitioner stated that the decision to conduct board exams from mid-June was taken in the month of May and it might have been under the impression that the Covid-19 situation would improve in the state.

It was also stated that there were over 12,000 examination centers for Class 10, thus indicating the manpower required amid the prevailing scenario where Tamil Nadu has seen 31667 total Covid-19 cases of which 14396 are active, while the state has been seeing a daily increase of over 1000 cases for the last one week.