Karnataka HC asks govt to reconsider move to hold K-CET 2020 on 30-31 July; decision likely tomorrow

The writ petition was moved by Congress party's student wing, National Student Union of India (NSUI) on Monday challenging the state-level common entrance exam held for admissions to engineering and medical courses.

FP Staff July 28, 2020 17:19:53 IST
Karnataka HC asks govt to reconsider move to hold K-CET 2020 on 30-31 July; decision likely tomorrow

The Karnataka High Court has asked the state examination authority to revisit its decision to hold the Karnataka Common Entrance Test (K-CET) scheduled to be held by the end of this month, due to the coronavirus situation in the state. The state has been asked to submit its reply in court latest by tomorrow.

The court, while hearing a writ petition against holding the exams, said, "We direct the State to reconsider the question of holding the CET considering the aforesaid aspect. State must place its decision on record tomorrow at 2.30 pm," according to LiveLaw.

The court will continue the hearing tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2.30 pm.

The writ petition was moved by Congress party's student wing, National Student Union of India (NSUI) on Monday challenging the state-level common entrance exam held for admissions to engineering and medical courses.

The exam is scheduled to be conducted on 30 and 31 July, with as many as 1,94,356 students set to appearing in it this year.

"Conducting the exams during these testing times will create widespread panic and put the lives of students, teachers, parents and staff at risk," the PIL stated, according to The News Minute.

Eric Stephen, NSUI in-charge of Karnataka and also the petitioner in case, told the news website,"A similar examination happened in Kerala and there were students and parents who were found to be positive for coronavirus . NEET exams were postponed to September. If a national examination was deferred, what is stopping the state government from deferring the exams?". 

The petitioners also stated in the court that conducting the exams in the current situation will put students and their families at a risk. NSUI counsel advocate Abdulla Manan Khan said that the exam authorities can only ensure that the health guidelines are being implemented at exam centres, but nobody can control the risk and exposure students undertake to reach the exam centre.

The court, however, frowned upon the petitioner for delay in raising its objection to the matter.

The high court, according to Live Law, asked the petitioner that when the notification for the exam was issued in May, then why did they wait till the eleventh hour to object to the schedule or to reach out to the courts.

The court also asked the government how did it expect students living in containment zones to adhere to the local authorities SOPs of not leaving their homes, and also appear for exam at the same time?

"How will students from containment zones appear for the exams. There are over 6,000 containment zones in city of Bengaluru. Please tell us that," Bar&Bench quoted the bench as saying.

The advocate general of Karnataka responded saying that the candidates living in containment zones will be made to sit in separate rooms. But the bench overruled the argument with another question that how did the state expect those students to reach the exam centres in the first place, when they aren't allowed to step out of the containment zone.

The court then observed that the petitioner's plea is not maintainable because it did not approach the authorities in time, but also held that the state must reconsider its decision urgently because there is a possibility that some students may have to miss the exam.

"It is true that petitioners have approached the court very late. But considering the drastic rise in COVID-19 cases, the State Government has to immediately reconsider its decision of conducting KCET exam. There is a possibility of students missing out on the exam," the court held.

The Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA), while announcing the exam dates ,had said that it has taken several steps to streamline all the processes for KCET 2020. It extended the deadline of application process and has increased the number of exam centres so that social distancing can be maintained, reported NDTV.

The authorities have tried to keep only a limited number of candidates at a particular exam centre to adhere to the lockdown and social distancing guidelines.

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