Mumbai: Noting that it was “unfortunate” and “nobody expected that entire cities would be literally shut down” (due to Covid 19 pandemic) and people would have to return to their villages, the Bombay High Court has condoned delay in surrendering Class 12 marksheet by a student thereby clearing way for him to obtain marksheet for Class 12 improvement exam conducted in 2020.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale, recently directed the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) to release improved marksheet of Rajesh Sharma, 22, an engineering student.
“This is most unfortunate. Some regard must be had to the situation that prevailed in this country from March 2020 onwards for a long time. Nobody expected that entire cities would be literally shut down or that persons would have to return great distances to their villages and hometowns. Surely these are matters that are sufficiently extraordinary and warrant the exercise of some appropriate discretion," the bench notes.
The HC was hearing a petition by Sharma seeking direction to the MSBSHSE, to release his original Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Improvement Examination Result Mark Sheet for the exam conducted in February/March 2020.
He secured 61.54 percent in his HSC exams in February 2019, which rendered him ineligible for admission to engineering courses. Hence, he appeared for the HSC Improvement Examination in February/March 2020 and secured 76.10 percent.
As per the rules, Sharma was required to surrender his original mark sheet of 2019 exam to receive the improved mark sheet.
However, due to the nation wide lock down in March 2020, he and his family returned to his native place in Himachal Pradesh. He could neither travel during the lockdown nor attempt to get the mark sheet online due to poor internet connectivity. He is currently pursuing Education at the Vellore Institute of Technology, Bhopal and has to apply for placement and campus selection.
His plea contended that his mother visited the office of the MSBSHSE, Pune to get his marksheet. However, MSBSHSE said that it cannot be given as the old marksheet was not returned on time.
The judges acknowledged MSBSHSE concerns regarding setting a precedent for similar cases. However, they emphasised that exceptional circumstances required a flexible approach.
The bench averred that the lockdown was an unforeseen and extraordinary event that disrupted the petitioner's ability to fulfill the necessary procedural requirements. It highlighted they the 22-year-old's educational aspirations and future career prospects were at stake. It then directed the MSBSHSE to accept the surrender of the old mark sheet and release the improved mark sheet by August 11, 2023.