Education (CBSE) and the AAP government on a PIL which said that poor children studying in class 10 and 12 of government schools would not be able to afford the board exam fees.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Ministry of
Education, CBSE and Delhi government seeking their stand on the plea by a society which has contended that the Board “arbitrarily” enhanced the exam fees in 2019-20 and was charging the same this year too when everyone has been hit financially by the pandemic.
In 2019-20, the Delhi government footed the bill of the exam fees of students studying in class 10 and 12 in its schools, and assured the parents that the matter would be sorted for the future, said the petition by the Parents Forum for Meaningful
Education, a registered society of parents and educationists.
In a similar PIL by an NGO seeking waiver of the board exam fees, the Delhi government had told the court on September 28 that it cannot foot the bill this year as it had done last year as the amount was over Rs 100 crore.
In the present plea, filed through advocates P S Sharda and Kshitij Sharda, the society has said that CBSE was charging Rs 1,500 as board exam fees for class 10 and 12 and the amount goes upto Rs 2,400 for science stream students as they also have practicals.
The petition has contended that in the prevailing situation, parents of children in government schools may not be able to pay such amounts in one go.
“It has emerged that respondent 2 (Delhi government) has not only failed to sort out the matter as promised last year but this year it has declined to meet the steep fee obligation thereby abandoning lakhs of children in class 10 and 12 in its schools,” the petition has claimed.
It has contended that having failed to sort out the matter this year, the Delhi government “cannot now back out leaving the children in the lurch when the ground situation as compared to last year has worsened this year because of the lockdown since March 24”.
During the hearing, the society’s counsel told the bench that if the Delhi government can waive water bills for the economically weaker sections, it can do something for payment of exam fees of students hailing from that section.
The petition has urged that Delhi government be directed to “permanently sort out” the issue and also protect the interests of students who are eligible to give the board exams, but are unable to pay the fees for the same.
The petition also seeks creation of an empowered committee to examine the fixation of exam fees by CBSE for students in schools run by the Delhi government and to ensure that such children “receive the minimum learning environment and opportunity for equal chances of success at the board examination”.