The Centre and the Central Board of Secondary Education on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that they have decided to cancel the remaining Class 10 and Class 12 exams, scheduled between July 1 and July 15, Live Law reported. The board will conduct the examinations when the conditions are conducive.

The top court was hearing a petition filed to quash a notification of the CBSE to conduct the rest of the examinations in July amid an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. The petition, filed by parents of some students, sought a direction to the CBSE to declare results on the basis of exams that have already been conducted by the board and on internal assessment marks.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre and the CBSE, said Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu have already conveyed that they are unable to conduct examinations. Mehta informed the top court that Class 12 exams will be optional for students when they are conducted later.

Mehta said students can either choose a scheme where they may be assessed on the basis of the last three exams or take them later. “However, those who do not opt for exams, will have their past exams make up for their performance and assessment accordingly,” Mehta said, according to Bar and Bench. “We took this decision due to logistic[al] issues. Many schools are quarantine centres. Parents are also worried. Thus the mental equilibrium stands affected.”

Meanwhile, for Class 10 students there is no such option to appear for exams later. “The CBSE board exam for them stands cancelled,” the solicitor general said.

However, Justices AM Khanwilkar said there needs to be clarity in the matter, adding that the academic year will have to start in September if exams are conducted in August. “The result on the basis of the assessment for the basis of both Class 10 and 12 will be published by July 15,” Mehta informed the court.

The Indian School Certificate Examination counsel also agreed to the CBSE proposition. “We will also cancel the Class 10 and Class 12 exams,” advocate Jaideep Gupta said. “We will declare the assessment results at once. Later, we may hold the board exams.”

The petitioners seeking cancellation of the exams had argued that there was no guarantee that the coronavirus situation in India will improve by July, adding that constantly postponing exams and delaying results will “inflict irreparable loss” on students who have secured admissions in foreign universities. The petitioners had also cited practical difficulties on movement of students in containment zones and unavailability of private vehicles.

After the submissions, the Supreme Court bench said it will pass the order on Friday at 10.30 am.

In April, CBSE had announced that it will only conduct pending exams for 29 subjects in order to promote students and enable them to get admissions to higher educational institutions. All schools and colleges have been shut since March 16, eight days before the Centre announced a countrywide lockdown.

The coronavirus has adversely impacted academic activities in India. All schools and colleges have been closed since March. Competitive exams have also been put on hold.