The Bombay High Court while exercising its discretion in extraordinary circumstances allowed a student to obtain his marksheet for 12th standard improvement exam conducted in 2020 and condoned his delay in surrendering his marksheet for 12th standard exam conducted in 2019 due to the lockdown in the Covid-19.

A Division Bench of Justice G.S. Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale observed that,

“This is most unfortunate. Some regard must be had to the situation that prevailed in this country from March 2020 onwards for a long time. Nobody expected that entire cities would be literally shut down or that persons would have to return great distances to their villages and hometowns. Surely these are matters that are sufficiently extraordinary and warrant the exercise of some appropriate discretion.”

Advocate Subhash Bhalwal appeared for the Petitioner while AGP SB Gore appeared for the Respondent before the High Court.

In this case, the Petitioner, a 22-year-old engineering student, initially scored poorly in the HSC examinations in 2019 but improved his score to 76.10% in the HSC Improvement Examination held in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, he couldn't physically surrender his old mark sheet to obtain the new mark sheet, which is necessary for his admission and campus selection at the Vellore Institute of Technology. The 2nd Respondent, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Pune, initially declined to provide the new mark sheet due to the delay in the return of the old mark sheet.

The Court considered the exceptional circumstances arising from the pandemic, including the challenges of travel and lack of connectivity. It recognized the need for discretion and directed the 2nd Respondent (Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Pune) to accept the surrender of the Petitioner's old mark sheet. Furthermore, the 2nd Respondent was instructed to issue the mark sheet of the Petitioner's first HSC re-examination attempt in 2019. The Court emphasized that the issuance of the necessary fresh mark sheet should be completed as soon as possible and, in any case, by August 11, 2023.

Finally, the Court disposed of the Petition with no order as to costs, taking into account the extraordinary circumstances faced by the Petitioner.

Cause Title: Sharma Aryan Rajesh v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.

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