UGC guidelines: SC reserves judgement on plea against UGC order to conduct final year exams by September end

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Updated: Aug 18, 2020 6:58 PM

Students had filed a plea in the apex court against UGC’s decision to conduct final year exams by September 30.

On the plea challenging the decision of University Grants Commission (UGC) to hold final year examinations in universities by September end, the Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment and asked all counsels to submit a written note on their arguments within the next three days.

The SC bench heard arguments made by Maharashtra, Delhi, Odisha, and West Bengal before reserving their order.

An HT report stated that states of Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan and West Bengal have conveyed to UGC their inability to hold exams, while Delhi and Maharashtra have cancelled the exams.

The Court remarked during the hearing that state authorities cannot decide with regards to standards of education under the guise of NDMA. The SC also remarked that states can argue that presently it isn’t feasible to conduct the examinations, but passing students on the basis of their performance in exams held earlier cannot be under their domain.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, while appearing for UGC, stated that before the exams were ordered all public health precautions had been taken to account.

In its July 6 order, the UGC directed universities throughout the country to conduct final year exams either via online mode, or offline mode or through a mix of the two modes by September 30. Students had filed a plea in the apex court against UGC’s decision to conduct final year exams by September 30.

In their opposition to the UGC circular, 31 final year students from different universities across the country had approached the Supreme Court. In their petitions, they had suggested that the results be announced based on their internal assessment marks.

Students raised issues like the coronavirus outbreak and the plight of lakhs of students in flood-ridden states like Bihar and Assam in the petition. Several states have had to cancel examinations of their state universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The UGC order to hold exams in such times was heavily criticised on social media platforms as well.

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