The novel coronavirus travels through papers and holding exams would involve handling of papers by large number of human beings and thus it would be inherently dangerous to hold the ISCE and ISE exams, the Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. The state in its affidavit further said that it has powers to prevent such exams itself, especially in view of the pandemic.
The affidavit filed by Rajendra Pawar, deputy secretary of school education department, primarily raises objections to the decision of the CISCE which had on Monday told the HC that it won't force students to sit for the exams.
The CISCE had informed a bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta that it had decided not to force students to physically appear for the exams and that students could opt for a final result based on their internal assessment.
Opposing the decision, the state highlighted the fact that the pandemic is becoming serious day-by-day and thus it is all the more requisite that "the views of executive and administration of the state, relating to feasibility of holding such exams need to be considered with utmost importance."
The affidavit further reads that not much is known about this highly contagious and deadly virus as to how it would react or spread during monsoon.
"One of the aspects known about the coronavirus is that it travels through paper and conducting exams would include handling papers on a large scale and by a large number of human beings. Therefore, it is inherently dangerous from the point of view of public safety and the safety of children, to permit holding such exams," the affidavit states.
In its affidavit, the government further highlighted the fact that holding such board exams would involve continuous movement of teachers, students, parents and other authorities, who would be transporting the documents (answer sheets, questions papers, other stationery).
The state government also apprised the bench of the fact that it has already cancelled several examinations except the last paper of the final year.
The state further cited the decision of the CISCE wherein the body has asked the students to submit their response (who would sit and write and who won't). "It is only after we are told about the exact number of students willing to appear for the exams that we will be in a position to take a final decision. However, it is emphatically submitted that the state does have powers to even prevent such exams, especially in view of the pandemic," the affidavit reads.
"We cannot allow any activity in the state which has inherent potential of spreading coronavirus amongst the residents of Maharashtra," the affidavit adds.
The matter is likely to be heard on Wednesday.
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