Ruling out holding re-exams for those who skipped them on account of the hijab row, Karnataka Minister for Primary and Secondary Education B C Nagesh on Monday said there is no such system for absentees.
He said exams are competitive in nature and there cannot be humanitarian consideration for absentees.
"Whatever the Court has said, we will abide by it. Being absent from exams will only be the prime factor and not the reason, whether it may be because of hijab row or ill-health or inability to attend or for not having studied. In the final exam absent means absent, repeat exams cannot be held," Nagesh said in response to a question.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said only those who have failed in the exam will have an opportunity to take up the supplementary exams.
"There cannot be new precedent, from the time the board exams are being held, there is no such system to hold re-exam for absentees," he added.
Following the Karnataka high court's interim order in February restraining all the students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab and any religious flag within the classroom, several Muslim girl students had boycotted classes and had skipped the practical exams.
The court in its final order on March 15 had dismissed petitions filed by a section of Muslim girl students, seeking permission to wear the headscarf inside the classroom.
With the high court order now being challenged in the Supreme Court, several Muslim girls continue to boycott classes and have indicated about skipping second PUC (class 12) board exams in April, with some of them making it clear that they would not return to classrooms without their hijab.
Stating that there cannot be humanitarian consideration while holding exams or in the education system, the Minister said, exams are
competitive and it should be held in an uniform way, in which rank or first class or others is to be scored.
"If we consider humanitarian grounds, tomorrow people will come with varied reasons for not attending exams and seek re-exam.. it cannot happen. There is no such system of holding re-exam for absentees," he said.
Noting that the interim order and thereafter the final order on the hijab row had come much before the exams, Nagesh said, "I can't believe the PU students who have gone to Supreme Court, would not have gone through the interim and final order. They are clever, some of them have decided to be absent, after going through it."