Outrageously Arbitrary- Delhi HC Pulls Up CBSE For Changing Weightage Formula For Class 12th Results
The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for arbitrariness and lapse on its part in keeping the class XII students in the dark and not informing them in advance about the change in weightage formula for the preparation of the final result.
While the CBSE had issued a circular on July 5, 2021, that an equal weightage of 50-50 per cent will be given to the Term I and Term II (theory) exams of Class 12th in the academic year 2021-22, it was recommended on July 21, 2022, a day prior to the declaration of results, that that the weightage formula should be 30-70 per cent.
Advocate Anusuya Salwan appeared for the petitioner while ASG Chetan Sharma appeared for the CBSE and Advocate Rajesh Gogna appeared for the Union of India.
The High Court said there are glaring lapses and a lackadaisical approach adopted by the board and this tantamounts to changing the rules of race after the race has ended and as such is outrageously arbitrary.
The High Court said there was nothing on record to suggest that any such order had been passed by the Chairperson/competent authority of CBSE accepting, enforcing, and notifying the recommendation regarding the new weightage formula.
"Accordingly, merely on the basis of the recommendation of the Committee, the Competent Authority decided to prepare the final result for Class XII and Class X by giving the weightage to Term-I at 30% (for Theory Papers) and to Term-II at 70% (for Theory Papers). In a matter of hours, the result of lakhs of students was prepared and published the very next day, that is on 22nd July 2022", Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed.
The High Court, in its judgement, said the factum of the recommendation and its acceptance was kept a secret from the public and students at large, until the fag end and the students were informed about it only on the day the results were declared.
"This clearly shows the arbitrariness and lapse on the part of the Board to keep the students in the dark about the weightage formula adopted for preparation of final result. This tantamounts to changing the rules of race after the race has ended and as such is outrageously arbitrary", the Court held.
The Court's judgement came while deciding a plea by a student, who assailed her class 12th result declared by the board and sought to declare her result in terms of the July 2021 circular which mandated equal weightage of the theory papers for Term 1 and Term 2.
The Court allowed the prayer directing the board to declare the result of the petitioner in terms of the July 2021 circular, providing for the Special Scheme of Assessment which mandates equal weightage to theory papers for Term-I and Term-II while computing the result.
"CBSE is accordingly directed to calculate and declare the result of the petitioner as per the formula as declared in the Original Scheme dated 5th July 2021. The revised Result/mark sheet thus prepared shall be uploaded, as expeditiously as possible, preferably within two working days from the date of this Judgment, on the DigiLocker for ensuring access to the petitioner", the Court directed.
The Court said it was not interfering with the revised weightage formula in the larger interest of students as in the academic session 2021-22, around 14 lakhs students appeared for the CBSE Class-XII board examinations, whose results have been prepared and declared in accordance with revised weightage formula.
"As goes the popular saying - "Justice should not only be done, but also seen to be done." In the Academic Session 2021-22, around 14 lakhs students appeared for the CBSE Class-XII Board Examinations, whose results have been prepared and declared in accordance with revised weightage formula. Therefore, in the greater interest of the students at large and to ensure that justice does not in itself become an agent of chaos, as well as in light of the fact that the petitioner has not pressed its prayer for setting aside of the impugned circular of revised weightage formula, this Court is not interfering with the Revised Scheme of Weightage of Term-I and Term-II exams dated 23rd July 2022. It is also made clear that the petition has been partly allowed in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and shall not operate as a precedent", it said.
The High Court observed that by its conduct and representations in public by way of circulars, the CBSE has violated the legitimate expectation of the students, including the petitioner.
All of this does not paint a glossy picture and this state of affairs at the CBSE is nothing but worrisome, the High Court said, adding that manifest arbitrariness at such a large scale cannot be allowed to go on unfettered.
It said the CBSE has a rich and glorious past and since its humble beginning in 1929, the sapling has now grown into a gigantic banyan tree with a number of milestones and its outreach not only in India but also across more than 25 countries worldwide.
CBSE-affiliated schools today include Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, government schools, as well as private schools. These affiliated schools have produced outstanding luminaries in various fields, who have contributed significantly to the cause of nation-building. The board's dedication and efforts to undertake continuous and comprehensive reforms and innovations in education are commendable.
Given such a bright history, the responsibility vested and the trust reposed in the board is also magnified. Therefore, a greater degree of care and caution, as well as due diligence is required on the part of the functionaries and office bearers to ensure that due process is not violated at the higher echelons while taking decisions that affect the lives of lakhs of students, the High Court said.
Cause Title: Devasri Bali v. Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr.
With PTI inputs