New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued a stern warning to the Andhra Pradesh government over its decision to hold in-session Class 12 exams next month, despite the Centre and other states cancelling the exams because of the pandemic. The top court said it would hold the stare responsible and "may order compensation amounting to ₹ 1 crore... if there is even one fatality".
"If there is even one fatality we may order compensation amounting to ₹ 1 crore... when other boards had cancelled, why (does) Andhra Pradesh want to show it is different?" a two-member bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said on Thursday.
"There are states giving ₹ 1 crore as compensation to families of those who died. We may keep this amount for Andhra Pradesh also," the court added.
The top court was hearing a plea for cancellation of Class 12 exams in the state.
The court directed the state to submit a report that identifies the individual or government body that took the decision to hold in-session exams, and if all concerns had been examined.
"Other boards took a conscious decision based on the ground reality. There is a new variant - 'Delta Plus'. Nobody is clear how it will affect us... Who took the decision to hold these exams and what are the parameters on which the decision was taken?" the court asked.
"It is question of the health of everybody... not only about conducting exams. We are not convinced about your plan," it declared.
One of the issues the court flagged was the number of rooms available to hold the exams.
In an affidavit filed earlier this week the Andhra Pradesh government had said 15 to 18 students would be seated in a room to ensure social distancing protocols are followed.
"One issue... in your affidavit you said students will be divided - 15 to 18 students in one room. Have you worked out the number of rooms needed? You require 34,634 rooms... where will you get so many rooms? Are you going to have exams in the open?" the court asked.
The state replied that 34,000 rooms had been identified and around 50,000 teaching and non-teaching staff had been vaccinated and were ready to conduct the examinations.