The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied entertaining a plea seeking direction to the Delhi government and the CBSE to waive exam fees for students of classes 10 and 12 in the current academic year as the parents are suffering financial problems due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By: Shruti Sunil Rebhankar (ILS Law College, Pune)
The disturbance caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic lead to a financial crisis which is being suffered by many individuals and parents.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, M R Shah and, R Subhash Reddy dismissed the petition filed by NGO ‘Social Jurist’ against the September 28 order of the Delhi High Court.
“How can the court direct the government to do this? You should give a representation to the government…Dismissed,” the bench said.
The Delhi High Court had asked the AAP government and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to treat the PIL filed by the NGO as a representation and take a decision following the law, rules, regulations, and government policy applicable to the facts of the case within three weeks.
The plea, filed through lawyer Ashok Agarwal, said either CBSE be asked to waive off the exams fee or the Centre should pay the money from the PM Cares Fund in the country.
The appeal in the apex court said that due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the income of parents has either disappeared or declined to such a level that it has become difficult for them to arrange even two meals for their families.
It said the High Court’s order has resulted in denial of relief to 30 lakh students in the country and three lakhs are in Delhi alone.
“It may be stated here that till 2018-19, the CBSE Examination fee of students of Class 10 or 12 was very nominal but in the year 2019-20, respondent CBSE increased Examination fee in manifold. In the current year 2020-21, CBSE has demanded Examination fee from Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,800 from students of Class 10 and Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,400 from Class 12 students depending upon the number of subjects, practical, etc,” the plea said.
Further, the plea also added that, in the last academic year, the Delhi government had paid examination fees to the CBSE for students of class X and XII, but in 2020-21, it has refused to do so citing financial crunch.
The NGO sought a direction to the CBSE to waive the fee or direct the Centre to pay to CBSE from the PM Care Fund or any other available resources, it said.