The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education to release the disbarred student’s Class 12 marksheet saying that his entire educational career and future are in jeopardy.

A Division Bench of Justice G.S. Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale said, “The Petition discloses an utterly extraordinary state of affairs. The Petitioner is a 17-year-old student who is caught between the Scylla of an utterly doctrinaire approach of the 4th Respondent, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education, and the Charybdis of an alleged lapse on the part of the 5th Respondent, the Gargi Junior College, Nashik. The result is that the young Petitioner’s entire educational carrier and future is in jeopardy.”

The Bench observed that the choice of subjects at the SCC/ICSE schools is not made in the 10th standard but at least a year or two earlier, around the 8th or 9th standard and it is surely unreasonable to expect that the decision of a 14-year-old will be determinative of his entire future.

Senior Advocate Y.S. Jahagirdar appeared for the petitioner while AGP A.A. Purav, and Advocates Kiran Gandhi and Rooshna Sayyed appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner was a student who appeared for his 10th standard examination of ICSE Board and shortly thereafter, because of the lockdown, he could not immediately take enrolment in a college. He worked on developing a digital app relating to the Covid situation which was a tracker for Covid conditions and engaged himself in a technical and science-based pursuit of his own volition.

The petitioner secured 92% marks in his 10th standard and hence began looking for a college for admission for the 11th and 12th standard in Science which he wanted closer to his residence. The petitioner took admission to the respondent college and passed the 11th standard but thereafter, his admission to 11th and 12th standards got cancelled on the ground that he did not opt for the Science subject and hence his marksheet was not uploaded.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel noted, “We do not see how we can possibly refuse to exercise discretion in favour of the Petitioner in a case like this. … . If the 4th Respondent cannot control the conduct of its accredited educational institutions, then the consequences of that fault cannot be visited on students. … we see no rationale why 10th students who do not take science should not be admitted to the science stream later.”

The Court further noted that the old trifecta of Science-Arts-Commerce is to be done away with and the emphasis is now on identifying and nurturing potential and providing flexible learning options.

“We are fortified in this view by a look at the National Education Policy. The entire pattern is proposed to be changed. … If this is the policy trend, we are unable to see how the inflexibility — to say nothing of the tardiness — of the 4th Respondent’s approach fulfils any objective at all. We were compelled to ask what the purpose of the 4th Respondent is: to assist students and provide and encourage education opportunities or to discover new ways to stymie them?”, said the Court.

The Court observed that at such a prima facie stage, one must test the balance of convenience in addition to assessing whether a prima facie case is been made out.

“It is for these brief reasons that we have issued Rule and that we believe it is necessary to grant ad-interim relief in terms of prayer clause (e) which reads thus:“(e) pending the final hearing and disposal of the writ petition, this Hon’ble Court be pleased to issue marksheet and certificate to the Petitioner (Hall Ticket Set No.S004639) for 12th Standard HSC Examination 2023”, held the Court.

Accordingly, the Court issued necessary directions to the respondents.

Cause Title- Krish Rajendra Chordiya v. The State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:BHC-AS:15145-DB)

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