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FPJ Legal | CET controversy: Bombay HC asks ICSE, CBSE, IGCSE to send question bank to Maharashtra govt

06:45 PM Aug 04, 2021 | Urvi Mahajani

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the ICSE, CBSE and IGCSE education boards to submit a question bank of 200 questions to the Maharashtra government’s education board for the purpose of setting up a single question paper for Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission to junior colleges.

A division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and Riyaz Chagla asked the other boards to submit questions based on a request put up by the SSC board to send questions based on their syllabus. Last week, the HC had asked the state government to consider whether it was possible to set a common question paper for all the students.

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CET is being held this year on August 21 under exceptional circumstances as this year none of the boards could conduct the Class X exams.

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The HC was hearing a petition by ICSE student Ananya Patki from ICSE and IGCSE boards seeking quashing of Government Resolution dated May 28 that declared “admissions to XI/ junior colleges will be based on CET which in turn will be based solely on the SSC board syllabus”.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni and additional government pleader Poornima Kantharia said that they have appealed to the other boards to give a total of 200 questions which it will examine.

Kumbhkoni said that the CET would have seven groups comprising of 25 marks each. Of these, four groups would be as per the state notification comprising questions based on SSC board subjects – Maths, Science, Social Science and English. The remaining three groups would comprise questions from the other boards. The students will have the option of attempting questions from any four of these seven groups. “The students would have to answer 100 out of 175 questions,” he explained.

The AG further informed the court that over 10 lakh students from the SSC board have registered to take the CET as a few thousand students from the other boards.

The HC was informed that the additional chief secretary (school education) had a meeting with officials of other boards. The CBSE board has no objection to CET on SSC syllabus and IGCSE has said it has no team in India, said Kumbhkoni.

The ICSE board did not represent itself in court.

Stating that there was no unanimity, Kumbhkoni said that if there would be further delay, the admission process will finish in October and the academic year will commence.

Emphasizing on the need for a CET, Kumbhkoni said that every board had evaluated its student for promotion on its own methodology whereas in CET, common questions would be asked.

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, who appeared for IGCSE students, said that their schools had physical exams and the board examined the papers and sent marks. He questioned: “What equality is going to be achieved in respect of subjects not studied.”

Observing that the other boards were not supporting the CET, the HC has kept the matter for final hearing on August 6.

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