The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a March 22 order of the Karnataka High Court upholding the conduct of board examinations for Classes 5, 8, 9 and 11 in schools affiliated with the state-run Karnataka School Examination and Assessment Board, Live Law reported.

The court also ordered that the results of these board examinations, which resumed on the High Court’s orders last month, be kept in abeyance by schools and not communicated to the parents of students. The order was passed by a bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal in response to petitions against the High Court’s ruling.

The court added that the Karnataka government appeared to be “anyhow bent on playing with the future of the students” and that it had caused physical and mental agony to students, parents, teachers and school managements.

A division bench of the High Court had, on March 22, accepted the Karnataka government’s argument that the examinations could not be seen as board examinations in the conventional sense and dismissed petitions by the Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association Karnataka seeking to stop them.

The High Court had said that for an examination to be considered as a board exam, the results would need to be publicly displayed, their answer papers assessed by an external evaluator, and that students who failed the exam could be detained. These features were found to be missing from the examinations for Classes 5, 8, 9 and 11.

The division bench set aside the decision of a single-judge bench on March 7, which struck down notifications passed in 2023 allowing the examinations to be held, according to Bar and Bench. The bench noted that there was nothing to suggest that examinations would lead to additional pressure on students, since their only distinguishing feature was that the question papers would be sent by the state board.

The Supreme Court said on Monday that the High Court’s March 22 order was not, on preliminary reading, in consonance with the Right to Education Act.