This year, the Class 12 Biology board exam paper had an unusual question. The question was asked students to justify why “burying” should be promoted over “burning” to protect the environment from air pollution. The CBSE has now issued a show-cause notice to an official over the question.

The board has also debarred the subject expert who framed the question for “ambiguity in the interpretation of the question” after Twitter users criticised it by tagging Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar seeking his intervention.

The question did not specifically state if it was about burial or cremation of dead bodies. “The subject expert who framed the question was debarred for ambiguity in the interpretation of the question. A show cause notice was also issued to the (board) official concerned,” the Central Board of Secondary Education said.

“The question no 23 in respect of Biology paper of Delhi scheme is a value-based question which intends to highlight proper disposal of waste by using landfills, compost pits etc. Therefore, the question is framed to inculcate environment-friendly behaviour and increase the sensitivity towards safe disposal of waste,” CBSE said.

Asking students to justify as to why “burying” should be promoted over “burning” to protect the environment from air pollution, the question stated, “Public all over India is very much concerned about the deteriorating air quality in large parts of India. Alarmed by this situation the residents welfare association of your locality organised an awareness programme entitled (sic) ‘Bury, not burn'”.

“They invited you being a biology student to participate. How would you justify your arguments that promote burying and discourage burning? Give two reasons-,” it further asked.

A Twitter user had tagged Javdekar with a picture of the question paper saying, “So CBSE under @PrakashJavdekar run @HRDMinistry wants to promote Burial & not Burning – even asking impressionable minds 2 reasons in support”.