NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed Kerala's offline class XI (Plus One) Exams slated for Monday, until September 13, amid rising Covid cases in the state.
A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar noted that Covid cases are continuing to rise in the state, with over 30,000 cases being reported daily, which accounts for nearly 70% of the national cases.
‘‘You can't put children of tender age at risk,’’ said presiding judge Justice Khanwilkar.
"Prima facie we find force in submission made by petitioner that the state government has not seriously considered the prevailing situation before the physical exam. As we couldn't get satisfactory response from counsel for state in this regard, we grant interim relief staying offline exams till the next date of hearing. List the matter on 13 September," said the court order.
The court was hearing a petition challenging a decision of the Kerala High Court refusing to interfere with the decision to hold offline exams.
Advocate C K Sasi, appearing for the state government, claimed all safety protocols have been put in place. He submitted that the SSLC and Class XII exams, with over 4 lakh students, were successfully held during April this year. Even the entrance examinations were held physically in July, he submitted. He, however, could not respond to a query from the bench whether the state government has taken note of the changes in circumstances since April.
"I have been the Chief Justice of Kerala, and I can say that Kerala has one of the best medical infrastructures in the country. Despite that, Kerala has not been able to contain the COVID-19 cases," Justice Roy commented.
Justice CT Ravikumar, newly sworn-in judge from Kerala, also remarked that to allow students from different parts of the state to mingle in exam centres can result in "super spread" of COVID-19.
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