Some schools charred, Delhi HC asks police, govt to ensure Board exams are smooth

A school damaged during the violence in Mustafabad. (Express photo: Amit Mehra)

The Delhi High Court Friday directed the Delhi government and police to ensure the safety and security of students during their Board exams at centres in riot-affected areas of Northeast Delhi, and warned against any "breach of security".

The violence over the amended citizenship law in Northeast Delhi, which has left 42 people dead and over 250 injured so far, also saw schools in the area being torched.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued the direction to the authorities after arraying them as a party to a plea by a private school, Bhai Parmanand Vidya Mandir in East Delhi's Surya Niketan area, seeking a change of its Board exam centre in Northeast Delhi.

It issued notice to the Delhi government and the police, seeking their stand on the school's plea by March 4.

"The newly added respondents (government and police) shall ensure the (exam) centres are sanitised and there is no breach of security," Justice Shakdher said, observing that the situation in Northeast Delhi appeared to be "improving".

Meanwhile, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) apprised the court that it has postponed Board exams for Classes X and XII to be held on Friday and Saturday at 86 centres in Northeast Delhi.

It said it was optimistic about holding exams at the centres from March 2 onwards.

The CBSE also said it has no plans to shift the centres to other locations in the capital.

Advocate Kamal Gupta, appearing for the school, told the court there was no police presence at centres in Northeast Delhi and he has videos showing two schools and school buses being torched.

CBSE's counsel informed that the Delhi government and police were the appropriate authorities to ensure exam centres are protected.

On Wednesday, the court took note of the "worsening situation" in the area and directed CBSE to come up with a plan to reschedule the exams or change the affected centres.

The school, in its plea, said the centre allotted to them was 16 km away and situated on the Chandu Nagar-Karawal Nagar road, one of the violence-hit areas.

The petitioners, which include students of Class X and XII, said it would be hard for them to reach the centre due to violent clashes in the area.

They urged the court to direct CBSE to change the examination centre from New Sandhya Public School to a centre located in East Delhi district with proper infrastructure and security.

Highlighting that around 550 students in Class X and XII are registered for taking the Board exams, the plea said the "violent clashes and riots have posed a serious threat and danger to the lives of students and their parents, in as much as they have no option but to reach the centre, come what may be the situation of the area around the centre; reaching the centre not only involves mental agony, trauma and stress for the students and their parents, but also poses grave and palpable threat to life and limb."