India's Supreme Court on Thursday warned the Andhra Pradesh state government that it will be held accountable "if there is a single fatality" during Class 12 State Board exams, which the state government is insisting on holding offline.
The Bench also warned that if any fatality happens due to COVID, the court might order that compensation be paid, costing as much as INR 10,000,000 ($134,829 approx).
The Supreme Court of India grilled the Andhra government after it filed an affidavit stating that COVID safety protocols will be followed by ensuring that only 15 students are seated in one examination hall.
With over half a million students expected to appear iat the examination, the Apex Court observed that there should be at least 35,000 exams hall for the students to meet the criteria.
The top court also observed that the pandemic situation is highly uncertain and no one can predict what could happen during the last week of July. The Bench referred to the apprehensions raised by experts about the possible third wave and the delta variant of Coronavirus.
Judges at the Supreme Court have also questioned the state government as to why the exams cannot be cancelled.
"The other boards have cancelled it. There is no reason why this Board can't follow it just because it wants to show it is different," observed Justice A.M. Khanwilkar while hearing the case. "Are you going to risk the students?" he questioned.
"Unless we are convinced you are geared up to take exams without any fatalities, we won't permit you to go ahead and conduct exams,"the Bench added.