Bombay HC upholds Maharashtra govt’s decision to cancel SSC exams | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Thursday declined to interfere with the state decision to cancel the SSC exams observing that it is a policy decision.
“These are all matters of policy. The executive has taken a decision. It may appear to you and me as foolish…Is there a ground to interfere?” asked a bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni. The judges said they would only interfere “if the policy decision manifests arbitrariness or infringes upon the right of a person bound by the decision.”
The court heard a petition by Dhananjay Kulkarni, a retired teacher from Pune, who challenged the state’s decision to cancel the exams for 16 lakh students saying it will lead to problems for XI admissions as different boards declare results based on different evaluation formulae. At the outset, the judges asked the petitioner who would be responsible if the exams are held and students get infected due to Covid19.
“If the exams are held and students get affected, who will be responsible ?” The judges said the pandemic situation is more grave this year. “If you compare statistics, the second wave is more lethal,’’ said the CJ, adding that most states have cancelled exams. The judges said under the Constitutional scheme certain bodies are entrusted to take such decisions which are matters of policy. They also questioned how the public is affected by the decision to cancel SSC exams and whether it will affect fundamental rights.
Kulkarni’s advocate Uday Warunjikar submitted that “there is defect in the system introduced by them (State)” and it is only because of the petition that the State government took decisions. Warunjikar also said regarding CET there are three boards with different formulas of evaluation. He added that just as it resolved the HSC exams issue, the Central government must do something about SSC which has 2 crore students in the country as compared to 24 lakh CBSE students and 10 lakh ICSE students.
Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, for the State and SSC board, said CET for class XI admissions is introduced because of students of boards of CBSE, ICSE and SSC as the issue was how to compare their marks. He said there are students who want to get into colleges of their choice.
“There are few colleges which are highly rated and sought after,’” he said.
He also said CET is optional. “It is not necessary that every student must clear it,” he added. The AG said there is no bifurcation and irrespective of boards those students who want to participate in CET are allowed to do so. “If all boards are allowed to participate in the CET on the basis of results, what is the arbitrariness in this?” the CJ asked.
The judges then recorded the AGs’ statement on CET. They asked Warunjikar if his client wishes to proceed with the matter. Warunjikar said his client is satisfied that the prayer against cancellation of exams is taken care of by the holding of the CET. The judges then dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

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