The Supreme Court on Friday permitted the Centre and the Central Board of Secondary Education to cancel the remaining board examinations due to COVID-19 pandemic and gave the go-ahead to its scheme to award marks to students for the cancelled papers scheduled to be held in July.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna permitted the CBSE to issue the notification for the cancellation of examinations.
The bench after perusing the notification of CBSE allowed the board to issue it and said that Class 10 and 12 exams of CBSE scheduled for July 1-15 will be governed by this order.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the CBSE, said that the assessment scheme will consider marks achieved by students in last three papers of board exams.
The counsel for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education board told the top court that it has more or less the same scheme as that of CBSE but it has a different averaging formula and may consider conducting re-exams for Class X.
The ICSE said that a notification in this regard will be issued within one week and would be uploaded on its website.
Both CBSE and ICSE told the top court that the results of the class 10 and 12 board exams can be declared by mid of July.
The top court was hearing pleas seeking relief, including scrapping of remaining exams of Class 12 scheduled from July 1-15, in view of increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Similar relief was sought by the ICSE Board as well.
The CBSE class 12 exams had started on February 15 and were to conclude on April 3. The class 10 exams had started on February 21 and were to end on March 29.
The ICSE Board had postponed its class 10 and 12 examinations due to a coronavirus outbreak and they were to end on March 31. However, the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic came into force from March 25.
The CBSE's assessment scheme approved by the top court said that for the students of both classes 10 and 12, who have completed all their examinations, their results will be declared based on their performance in the exams.
It said that students who have appeared in the examinations in more than three subjects, the average of the marks obtained in best three performing subjects will be awarded in the subjects whose examinations have not been conducted.
The scheme said that for students who have appeared in the examinations in only three subjects, the average of the marks obtained in the best two performing subjects will be awarded in the subjects whose examinations have not been conducted.
"There are very few students of class 10, mainly from Delhi, who have appeared in the examinations in only one or two subjects. Their results will be declared based on performance in the appeared subjects and performance in internal/practical project assessment," the CBSE scheme said, adding that these students will also be allowed to appear in the optional examinations conducted by CBSE to improve their performance, if they desire to do so.
The CBSE board said that result of these students will also be declared along with other students. On Thursday, the Centre had told the top court that the remaining CBSE and the ICSE Board examinations for classes 10 and 12, scheduled to be held in July, have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It had said that the examinees of class 12 students of CBSE Board will however have the option of either taking the exams later or to move ahead with the assessment based on their performance in the last exams. The re-exam option will not be available to class 10 students.
Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the Central Board of Secondary Education, had said that Class 10 and 12 board examinations scheduled from July 1-15 have been cancelled and re-examination for 12 would take place when the situation becomes conducive.
The CBSE had said that it was formulating a scheme to give options to students of 12 only -- for re-examination or assessment based on past performance. The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, however, informed the bench that it will not be giving re-examination option to students of Class 10 and 12 and the results would be declared on the basis of past performances.
The top court was informed that states like Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have conveyed their inability to conduct board exams.
Earlier, the Centre and the CBSE had told the court that an expert body is in the process of taking final decision "very shortly" on the issue of whether to scrap the remaining exams of Class 12 scheduled from July 1-15 in view of increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
The top court was also hearing a separate plea seeking quashing of the May 18 notification of CBSE by which the date sheet for remaining exams of Class 12 was declared.
One of the pleas, filed by some parents of students appearing for the exam, sought a direction to the CBSE to declare the results on the basis of the exam already conducted and to calculate it on an average basis with internal assessment marks of remaining subjects.