Rohan has sought the Class 10 Mathematics board exam re-test to be cancelled, under Article 32 of the Constitution.

Unfair to ask us to rewrite exam Kerala boy who moved SC against CBSE tells TNM
news CBSE Sunday, April 01, 2018 - 13:31

Class 10 student Rohan Mathew was quite relieved and excited when his Mathematics board examination went really well. But the 15-year-old's joy turned out to be short-lived, as he, like lakhs of other students in the country, was told about the question paper leak – and CBSE’s decision to hold a re-test in the face of it.

Angry and upset, Rohan, a student of a private school in Kerala's Ernakulam district, has now filed a petition at the Supreme Court, seeking to quash the central board's decision to hold a re-test.

Speaking to TNM, Rohan says, "I was confused when my mother told me about the question paper leak. The exam was pretty easy, and I was satisfied with how I did. I didn't know what to say or how to react, but I felt I should do something about it."

While Rohan wanted to do something to about the issue, he was not quite clear as to what he could do. A discussion with his lawyer-father Santhosh Mathew is what gave clarity to Rohan's thoughts, with his father suggesting the possibility of filing a petition at the court. Rohan, who is an aspiring lawyer himself, has filed the petition through his father Santhosh at the Supreme Court.

Rohan feels that the CBSE asking all the students to appear for a re-test is unfair. He says, "We didn't even know about the leak, we wrote seriously and we were preparing for this board exam for the whole year!"

What the petition says

In his petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India – Right to Constitutional Remedy – Rohan has sought for the re-test of Mathematics examination to be cancelled, since it is "merely based on unconfirmed apprehension that the question paper has been leaked in Delhi prior to the said examination."

Rohan Mathew and Santosh Mathew

The petition says, "The question that arises is whether the decision of CBSE to cancel the exam based on mere apprehension that there is a likelihood of the exam having been compromised is violative of the proportionality doctrine. It is respectfully submitted that unless there is evidence for widespread and systemic leaking of papers, cancellation of examination of this magnitude is not the solution."

In the absence of evidence, it is "illegal" and "arbitrary" to conduct a re-test, Rohan argues. It is also violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 (Equality before law and equal protection from law), Article 21 (Right to life and liberty) and 21A (Right to education) of the Constitution of India, Rohan points out.

"It is respectfully submitted that the allegation is that the question papers were leaked in certain areas coming under the Delhi Region of the CBSE. More than 16 Lakh students appeared for the Mathematics Examination Code No.041 on 28-03-2018 in India and abroad and to penalise the entire student community for an incident which allegedly took place in one centre, is arbitrary and illegal in the absence of any evidence to show that the entire examination process was vitiated," reads the petition.

Speaking about the circumstances of moving the court, advocate Santhosh says that a lot of parents were apprehensive about how CBSE would react to a litigation.

"A lot of parents are apprehensive... that seems to be the concern of parents and many schools alike. Being a lawyer, I have faith in judiciary. Also, this is a cause which is being taken up, and not an individual grievance," advocate Santhosh says.

He points out that while uncertainty over the conduct of re-examination exists, CBSE had previously said that if there is a re-test, it is most likely to be held in July.

"For Class 10 students, they would want to move on to Class 11. They have to decide the stream they want to study. When the re-test happens in July, it is even worse than the leakage itself. Otherwise, they should just pass the students, based on their scores in model examinations," advocate Santhosh says.

The matter will be mentioned at the SC on Monday, with a plea to take up the matter soon.

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