Maharashtra FYJC CET 2021: The Bombay High Court has cancelled the Class 11 or First Year Junior College (FYJC) admission test, the optional entrance exam introduced by the Maharashtra government after cancellation of Class 10 or SSC board exams. The High Court said it was a "gross injustice" and would be a threat to the lives of students, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court had also directed the state government to start Class 11 admissions considering students' Class 10 marks and internal assessments and complete the admission process within six weeks.
Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said the government will take appropriate action after studying the Bombay High Court order.
“The CET decision was taken to minimise the educational loss of students. Last year, students had suffered an educational loss. We will study the Bombay high court''s decision and take action accordingly,” Ms Gaikwad told reporters.
“The state education department already has a database of some 12 lakh students who are eligible for admission (to class 11). The online admission process is implemented only in major cities like Mumbai and Pune,” the minister said.
The court said it would have taken suo motu (on its own) notice in this regard, even if a petition challenging the exam was not filed.
"The state government does not have the power under law to issue such a notification and this court can intervene in an extreme case of gross injustice, such as this," a division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and RI Chagla said.
"If the CET is allowed to be held, then a large number of students would be exposed and would face a threat to life. This would have a cascading effect," the bench said in its order.
The Maharashtra government was also considering a CET for admission to non-professional courses, and a final decision was to be made after Class 12 or HSC results. However, Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant recently said there will be no such entrance exam.
The FYJC CET was optional for Class 11 but those who took it would have been given preference in admissions. The leftover seats were to be filled based on Class 10 marks.
A petition challenging the decision was filed by Ananya Patki, a student of Mumbai's IES Orion School, affiliated to the CISCE board, and intervention pleas filed by four IGCSE students.
In a previous hearing, the HC bench had asked the state government to consider forming an expert panel, composed of members from different education boards, to set the exam syllabus.
The bench had said the state government cannot choose the syllabus for all students who had not passed out from the state board, and suggested that the government let individual boards decide their respective syllabus.
The state government's counsel Poornima Kantharia had told the court that permitting different boards to decide their own syllabus will not be possible, and added that apart from the ICSE and CBSE boards, the International Baccalaureate (IB) board too wanted to be impleaded as a party.
"All these different boards will want their own syllabus to be included (in the CET). This will lead to complete chaos," Mr Kantharia had told the court.