The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday cancelled the state board examinations for Class 10 and 12 after the Supreme Court reprimanded it for planning to go ahead with the tests, reported Bar and Bench. The court had said that the state government would be held responsible if anyone died due to the infection.

After the court’s warning, state Education Minister Adimulku Suresh said the examinations were being cancelled as it would not be possible to conduct them within the time stipulated by the Supreme Court order. The government also said that it would adhere to the marking assessment scheme for Class 12 students as directed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court directed states that have cancelled Class 12 exams to formulate an internal assessment scheme within 10 days and declare results by July 31, according to Live Law.

Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are among the states that have cancelled exams in view of the health crisis.

The court said it was not possible to have a uniform assessment for all the state boards. “Each board is different and autonomous,” it said. “We cannot direct uniform scheme across India.”

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari was hearing a petition seeking cancellation of the exams.

The court had questioned the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to go ahead with the exams in July when other states had cancelled them. “If there is even one fatality, we may order compensation amounting to Rs 1 crore,” the bench said, according to NDTV. “There are states giving Rs 1 crore as compensation to families of those who died. We may keep this amount for Andhra Pradesh also.”

The bench said it was not convinced about the government’s statement in its affidavit that it would seat only 15 students in every exam hall, according to Live Law.

The court noted that nearly 5 lakh students were scheduled to sit for the exams and the government should arrange more than 30,000 exam halls.

“Do you have a formula for that?” the bench asked lawyer Mahfooz Nazki, representing the state government. “You will require over 35,000 rooms if it is 15 students per hall? Do you have so many rooms? The commitment that you are making...we are not convinced with that.”

The court said it will not allow Andhra Pradesh to conduct the exams unless it was convinced about the safety arrangements, according to Bar and Bench. “When others have cancelled [exams], you cannot hold it to show you are different,” it added.

The bench highlighted that a new strain of Covid-19, Delta plus, was circulating in the country, according to NDTV. “Other boards took a conscious decision based on the ground reality,” it said.

The court asked the government’s lawyer to specify who took the decision to hold the exams. “What was the background?” the court asked, according to Bar and Bench. “It is not the question of exam but health and safety of all.”

The hearing in the case will continue on Friday.

The Central Board of School Education and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations have also cancelled their exams in view of the Covid-19 situation. On Tuesday, Supreme Court had approved the assessment plan created by the two boards for the academic year 2020-’21. The CBSE will also declare its results by July 31.