The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Kerala government to hold offline Class 11 exams after the state assured the top court that all Covid precautions will be followed at schools. The court also referred to reports that cited the unlikely possibility of an imminent third wave to lift its stay on reopening of schools in the southern state.
“We hope and trust that all precautions and necessary steps will be taken by authorities and they will ensure that no untoward situation takes place that affects children of tender age,” the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar said.
“Earlier we had intervened because there was the possibility of the third wave in September. Now as per reports that is not going to happen immediately,” it noted.
On September 3, worried by an “alarming” COVID-19 situation in Kerala, the Supreme Court stayed the state government decision, three days before they were scheduled to begin.
While passing the order today, the bench took note of the affidavit by the Kerala government that mentioned the Covid protocols that will be in place for the examinations. The state government had also mentioned the recently held all India JEE examination while requesting the court to remove its stay on the government decision to hold the Class 11 exams offline.
“The Kerala government affidavit mentions that recently the all India JEE examination took place and 7 lakh students appeared in it. The exam took place with all Covid precautions. So exams can be held with precautions. Their affidavit gives all explanations. If things take place with Covid precautions then what is the issue? Last time we did not get convinced by Kerala government statements as nothing was clear from their end,” Justice AM Khanwilkar said.
In reply, the lawyer for the petitioner said that only 80,000 students appeared for the exams from Kerala. “Kerala government affidavit does not mention if they have consulted any medical experts. There is no explanation in the affidavit,” he said.
The court, however, dismissed the plea, saying that it “hopes and trusts” that all precautions and necessary steps mentioned in the affidavit will be followed by the authorities and there will be no risk to children.