The Bombay High Court on Thursday observed that it was the state government's responsibility to provide power generators to centres where Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations are held in case of blackouts owing to rampant load-shedding.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions highlighting the non-implementation of a 2009 order directing the state to provide uninterrupted power supply to exam centers. One of the petitions, filed by Navi Mumbai social worker Vishnu Gawli, alleged that many students have to appear for the exams in darkness. Around 12 lakh students take the exams in 12,500 centers across the state every year.
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Girish Kulkarni said, "If the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) does not agree to the power distribution company's application to alter the load-shedding timings, it will be the responsibility of the government to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the centers."
The court was aghast at the state board's statement that it was taking an undertaking from the school where exams were conducted to provide power. The bench said, "This undertaking business will not serve any purpose. It has to be ensured that uninterrupted electricity is provided. Do schools in Mumbai use generators? The problem is where there is load-shedding and it is up to the state to ensure power."
The bench directed the MERC to inform it on whether it would decide on the applications filed by power distribution companies to alter load-shedding timings, and a time frame for the same by August 28. The board exams are likely to be held in October.