Kerala government reschedules exams on Church’s demand

Although the Kerala government’s minority vote bank politics is all too well-known, in a never-before move the CPM-led government has decided to make an exception in the exam calendar on religious grounds giving in to the demands of a religious group.

Nine Class 12 students who are members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church have been permitted by the authorities to appear for their state board ‘improvement’ exams after sunset this Saturday (September 26). This exception has been made to accommodate demands by the Church with regards to Sabbath observed by the group.

The Director of Public Instruction issued the order in response to a petition submitted by the Christian Protestant Church asking for the exams which were initially scheduled for September 6th. Sabbath is conducted by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church from Friday to Saturday evening every week.

Unlike other students who will give their exams during the day, a special exam hall has been set up at the Government Higher Secondary School at Sadanandapuram in Kerala’s Kollam for the nine students where they will spend their day from 9.30 AM to 6 PM after which exams would be conducted for them.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church spokesperson J Tito Arattukulam said that come what may they don’t write exams or do any secular activity on Sabbath day Saturday. He also added that even though several governments in the past had promised to make the exemptions, none of them had kept their word and it was for the first time this year that the CPM-led government has agreed to their demands and exempted them from giving exams during Sabbath.

It must be mentioned here that the Karnataka High Court had in 2016 rejected a petition by Seventh-day Adventist Church asking for University exams scheduled on Saturday to be rescheduled. In its judgement, the court had pointed out that the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion under Article 25(1) of the Constitution was subject to public order, morality, health and other provisions and also that Sabbath was not included in the official festival list of the Bharatiya government.

Considering the High Court judgement and the reasoning given by the court of law while giving the ruling, it can only be said that this act of the communist Kerala regime is nothing but bending over backwards to please a particular religious group and make unprecedented exceptions on religious grounds.

(Featured Image Source: The Indian Express)


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