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It took Supreme Court to remind AP Govt that life is more important than Board Exams

The Andhra Pradesh government cancelled the state board examinations for Class 10 and 12 after the Supreme Court reprimanded it for planning to go ahead with the tests. The court had said during yesterday’s hearing that the state government would be held responsible if anyone died due to the infection. 

After the court’s warning, state Education Minister Adimulku Suresh said the examinations were being cancelled as it would not be possible to conduct them within the time stipulated by the Supreme Court order. 

The government also said that it would adhere to the marking assessment scheme for Class 12 students as directed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court directed states that have cancelled Class 12 exams to formulate an internal assessment scheme within 10 days and declare results by July 31.

Many states have cancelled exams

Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are among the states that have cancelled exams in view of the health crisis. The court said it was not possible to have a uniform assessment for all the state boards. “Each board is different and autonomous,” it said. “We cannot direct uniform scheme across India.”
 
A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari was hearing a petition seeking cancellation of the exams.
 
The court had questioned the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to go ahead with the exams in July when other states had cancelled them. “If there is even one fatality, we may order compensation amounting to Rs 1 crore,” the bench said. “There are states giving Rs 1 crore as compensation to families of those who died. We may keep this amount for Andhra Pradesh also.”
 
‘No safety alternative plan’  
 

The bench said it was not convinced about the government’s statement in its affidavit that it would seat only 15 students in every exam hall. The court noted that nearly 5 lakh students were scheduled to sit for the exams and the government should arrange more than 30,000 exam halls. 
 
“Do you have a formula for that?” the bench asked lawyer Mahfooz Nazki, representing the state government. “You will require over 35,000 rooms if it is 15 students per hall? Do you have so many rooms? The commitment that you are making...we are not convinced with that.” 
 
The court said it will not allow Andhra Pradesh to conduct the exams unless it was convinced about the safety arrangements. “When others have cancelled [exams], you cannot hold it to show you are different,” it added. 
 
Even opposition parties have been demanding the YSRCP government to be sensible and cancel the board exams, which could become a superspreader of infections and lead to fatalities among students and their families. Finally, the Supreme Court’s decision has compelled the adamant state government to budge and save lives. May be states have to remember the old adage: “Better safe than sorry.”

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