Vivekananda Vidhyashram Matriculation Higher Secondary School berated sternly for unnecessarily branding a student as ‘mentally unfit’ to appear for exam

Madras High Court: Perusing through the present case where the school authorities denied a student from giving exams on the ground that he is mental ill, the bench of Pushpa Sathyanarayana, J., in stern words berated the school administration for branding the student as mentally unfit especially when there was no direct proof that the child’s behaviour had affected other students. Terming the behaviour of the school as unfortunate, the Court directed the respondents to allow the petitioner’s son to appear for his class 10th examination.

The present case was filed by the aggrieved father of D.M. Ashik Mohamed, a student of class 10th in Vivekananda Vidhyashram Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Vannerpettai. The petitioner prayed for the issuance of the writ of mandamus to the respondent school thereby directing them to allow his child to appear for the 10th standard public examination, including theory and practical examinations. The petitioner had alleged that his child was denied the permission to sit for the exams because the school was under the apprehension that the child would not perform well in the exams. According to the affidavit submitted by the school, it was stated that Ashik Mohamed was mentally ill and this fact was not disclosed by his father during the admission. However the school had mentioned no specific event which could prove their finding that the child was mentally ill.

On perusing the facts and the evidences presented by the parties, the Court found out that the child in question was awarded with the “Ignite Award- 2015” for his “Bluetooth Enabled Arduino Technology Vehicle”. Moreover the child had also participated in the “National Science Indian Talent Examination”. The Court further observed that the school did not deny that the Ashik Mohamed was indeed the recipient of the Ignite Award- 2015. The Court thus found it surprising that how can a school brand a child as mentally unfit after assessing him for more than one year. The Court observed that students appearing for 10th and 12th Board examinations are under constant pressure to perform well and it is possible for them to crack under such strenuous pressure. However it is not right for the school authorities to brand a kid as mentally unstable just because he/she wilted under the stress of constant tests and evaluations that alleviate their pressure further. [S. Mohaideen Kasim v. The Director of School Education, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 1766, decided on 01.03.2016]

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