Siddhant versus State – A fight for disabled students
Aurangabad, March 9, 2018: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has refrained from striking down the circular dated 17/10/2017 except for Siddhant. The circular will not affect rights of the disabled child and he can appear for exams for the subjects he opted in standard 9 unlike other students who have to appear for the exams as per the circular issued by the CBSE board which includes change in the curriculum.
Siddhant Manudhane suffering from dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculic, disability in reading, writing and understanding arithmetic which is learning disability. Student of standard 10 at Kashinath Palod Public School at Jalgaon that is affiliated to CBSE board under the control of Union of India. The regional office of CBSE is at Chennai and the main board is at Prit Vihar, Delhi.
According to Writ Petition No. 1744 of 2005, with a mutual agreement between the State Government Educational and Authorities and all schools agreed to a scheme as per annexure 10 for giving exemtions, concessions and special facilities to the students with learning disability. There is no dispute that CBSE has accepted the policy and has issued general instructions for giving exemptions, concessions and facilities like extended time limit or services of scribe at the time of examinations. The students suffering from learning disability were exempted from taking a subject of third language. They were supposed to study only one compulsory language as against two. Besides, they were supposed to opt for four, as against five for others.
On 17/10/2017 CBSC Board office, Delhi issued circular to all the institutes according to which the subject No.s. 461 to 467 were discontinued (Siddhant’s subject no. 462-IT was amongst them). The students were given option to choose the subjects having code NO.s. 401 to 407 in place of their earlier subjects from 461 to 467. The circular also provided select groups of subjects divided into five categories for examination of standard 10th, according to which, out of subjects having code nos. 165 and 166, only one can be chosen and subject no. 462 introduced as 402.
Now, Siddhant had problem of choosing a totally new subject as an alternative for subject having code no. 165 or 166, and also to select one more subject in place of subject 462. According to the circular, the common option of subjects should be as per list of valid combinations. The schools were directed to complete the registration process through on-line entry option only and list of candidates submitted online could be corrected by submission of hard copy. Siddhant had approached the school and put forth his difficulty in selecting new subjects and then appearing for SCC exam with new subjects within a short time. It was a rule that the school was bound to submit list of all the candidates and even in case of single failure to register the entry, it would result in the non-registration of the school. The principal of the school wrote a letter to the CBSE regional office but there was no communication. In order, to avoid inconvenience to other students, Siddhant chose the following two subjects. ‘Painting-49 in place of IT-462’ and ‘Home science in place of Information and Communication Technology-166’.
The learned counsel Siddhant (petitioner) Mrs. Rashmi Kulkarni said that the circular dated 17/10/2017 is contrary to the rules of CBSE that 9th and 10th standard are integrated courses. She also put up the argument that even for ordinary students, it is very difficult to change the subjects in midst of the year when the new subjects are totally unknown to them. In Siddhant’s case, he is suffering from learning disability and his parents have tried hard to teach the subjects to him. He had become familiar with the subjects selected by him for 9th standard examination. It will be practically impossible for him to prepare himself for the new subjects.
Therefore, the circular dated 17/10/2017 should be quashed and Siddhant should be permitted to select the subjects for which he had appeared In the 9th standard exam.
Summary of the Case:
Siddhant filed a petition seeking quashing of circular dated 17/10/2017, to refrain the Board from changing curriculum in the midst of academic year of 10th standard students in view of the integrated course of 9th and 10th year course, to accept the correct final registration slip dated 17/11/2017 of the petitioner submitted by principal for class 10th examination in March-2018, respondents to allow the petitioner to appear for 10th standard examination with subjects chosen for by him for 9th standard examination and other interim reliefs.