Bhubaneswar: The Orissa High Court has ruled in favour of an aggrieved student who could not appear for his Class XI examination due to extraordinary circumstances triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having missed his exam as he was in custody in February 2020, the student filed a petition. He was released on bail in March, but due to the nationwide lockdown that was imposed soon after, he could not submit his representation by June 17. His representation was rejected by the school due to delay.
The Odisha Human Rights Commission ordered the school to reconsider the case of the student. The court also ordered the school to provide the student with an ID and password for online classes for Class XII.
The institution obliged, but did not allow him to appear for the first-semester examination as he had not passed Class 11.
Aggrieved by the decision of the school — Delhi Public School, Kalinga, Cuttack — and with half-yearly exams approaching, a petition was filed to promote the student from Class 11 to 12.
The counsel for petitioners placed before the court — Justice K R Mohapatra was hearing the case — press release and notification by CBSE dated April 1 and May 13, 2020, which advised schools to promote students of 9th and 11th grade to the next grade on the basis of school-based assessments including project work, periodic tests, term exams. etc. conducted so far.
“At such a difficult time, all of us will have to make joint efforts to relieve students from stress and to help them to mitigate their anxiety. CBSE, in view of the requests of the parents and students, as a one-time measure in extraordinary situation has decided that all the failed students of 9th and 11th will be provided an opportunity to appear in a school-based test again,” the notification stated.
The counsel representing the respondent school submitted that due to the callous attitude and negligence, the petitioner student has lost his opportunity to appear in the re-test annual examination of Class 11.
The Court held that the tenor and purport of CBSE notification makes it clear that it was issued so that all failed students of Classes 9 and 11 are provided an opportunity to appear in a school-based test again, irrespective of whether their examinations have been completed and the results announced.
The Court directed the school authorities to conduct a special examination for the petitioner student for class promotion and also be allowed to appear in the test/half-yearly examination of Class XII which was scheduled to commence on October 12.