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Nine-year-old wonderkid to take Class 10 exams

A division bench of the Delhi high court allowed nine-year-old Tathagat Avtar Tulsi to sit for the all India Class Ten examinations starting on March 3.

The bench, consisting of Chief Justice M J Rao and Justice Manmohan Sarin, heard counsel for both Tathagat and the Central Board of Secondary Education before observing that it was not inclined to interfere with the single judge order allowing the boy to take the Class Ten exams.

But they directed the board to declare his results only after taking the court's leave. The judges observed on February 26 that since the CBSE had allowed Tathagat to take the science practical exams, he should be permitted to sit for the written exam as well. They also perused the marked sheets of the practical exam taken by Tathagat on February 10 as part of the board exams.

On Tuesday, the bench directed the CBSE counsel to submit Tathagat's practical exam answer sheets to the court in sealed covers. This was after the CBSE counsel, who was appealing against the single judge's order, questioned Tathagat's ability to do practicals and appear for subjects other than the ones which were part of his regular school curriculum. Tathagat is presently a Class Seven student at the Jindal public school, Delhi.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, who appeared for Tathagat, pleaded that the boy was of ''proven brilliance'' in mathematics and was ''extra-intelligent'' for his age. In view of his ''supermental'' abilities, which included the ''discovery'' of the smallest atomic particle which he calls the ''tulitron'' and an ability to ''predict'' earthquakes and decode the value of pi, Tathagat had been promoted by his previous school to Class Six immediately after he completed his Class Three studies in Bihar.

However, the boy's request to the CBSE to let him appear for the Class Ten exams this year was turned down on the ground that he should first complete his education from Class Eight to Nine. Pleading before the judges to make an exception in view of Tathagat's brilliance, Rohtagi said exceptional talent should not be smothered under rules meant for normal people.

Counsel Arvind Nigam, who appeared for the Delhi administration, told the bench that the government supported the boy's application. Rohtagi added that there were no rules barring Tathagat from appearing for the Class Ten exams. He disputed the CBSE counsel's plea that allowing Tathagat to take the exams would set a precedent and open the floodgates for such applications.

Claiming that the boy would be entitled for an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records if he was allowed to take the exams, Rohtagi said the country should promote such child prodigies.


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