“Tender Age…”: Supreme Court Pauses Kerala Class 11 Exams Over Covid

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The cumulative Covid case count in Kerala – the new epicentre of the pandemic in the country – crossed 41 lakh Thursday, with more than 32,000 new cases in 24 hours.

Worried by an “alarming” COVID-19 situation in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed a state government decision to hold offline Class 11 exams. The court ordered the exams be paused for a week, saying: “Children of tender age can’t be exposed to the risk (of contracting the virus)”.

“There is an alarming situation in Kerala. It accounts for more than 70 per cent of cases in the country, with around 35,000 daily cases. Children of tender age can’t be exposed to this risk,” a bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar said.

Justice Roy underlined the seriousness of the issue by pointing out Kerala “has one of the best medical infrastructures… but has not been able to contain Covid cases”.

“I have been Chief Justice of Kerala and I can say Kerala has one of the best medical infrastructures in the country. Despite that, Kerala has not been able to contain Covid cases,” he said.

Offline Class 11 exams were scheduled to begin from September 6.

The court was responding to a petition that challenged the decision of the Kerala High Court to not interfere with the state government’s proposal to hold offline exams.

Children (all those below 18) have not yet begun receiving Covid vaccines in India, despite fears over inadequate paediatric facilities if the third wave of infections targets them.

Last week Dr NK Arora, chief of the government’s Covid panel, said the Zydus Cadila shot (approved for kids between 12 and 17 years old) would be rolled out in October.