UGC final year exam guidelines — The wait gets longer, Supreme Court to decide the final verdict on August 18

IANS

  • The Supreme Court of India will now hear the plea challenging UGC final year exams 2020 on August 18.
  • On August 10, the University Grants Commission (UGC) told the Supreme Court that degrees would not be recognised if no examinations are held for final-year students even as the country faces a coronavirus crisis.
  • The Supreme court granted time to the UGC to respond to the stand taken by the Maharashtra and Delhi governments to cancel university exams.

The Supreme Court of India will now hear the plea challenging UGC final year exams 2020 on August 18.

Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the lead counsel, said “There is a great disparity between the classes of students who are expected to appear. Many students have gone back to their hometowns.”
He further said, “consistent stance of the MHA since March has been that the educational institutions should be closed and the same was reiterated by the MHRD but a sudden volte-face now.”

What happened in the previous hearing?

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On August 10, the University Grants Commission (UGC) told the Supreme Court that degrees would not be recognised if no examinations are held for final-year students even as the country faces a coronavirus crisis.

The UGC response was conveyed by its counsel, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on a batch of pleas that challenged the UGC schedule for final-year university exams before September 30.The petitioners' counsel contended that the UGC guidelines for holding exams are "not legally or constitutionally valid".

Mehta argued that the decision by Delhi and Maharashtra to cancel exams in their respective state universities is against the UGC rules.He argued that UGC is the only body that can prescribe rules for conferring a degree, and state governments cannot change the rules.

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The counsel for one of the petitioners replied that there is complete inconsistency in the Ministry of Human Resource Development and UGC guidelines. The bench also comprises Justices R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah adjourned the hearing till Friday, after the UGC asked for time to respond to the affidavits filed by Delhi and Maharashtra.

The Delhi government stated in its affidavit that on July 11, a decision was taken that all online-offline exams of universities under the state, which include final year exams, would be cancelled in the backdrop of the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the affidavit cited some vice-chancellors of certain universities in favour of wrapping up at least the final semester exams, but the Delhi government decided to stick to its decision of not holding the exams.

The Supreme court granted time to the UGC to respond to the stand taken by the Maharashtra and Delhi governments to cancel university exams. The bench also asked the UGC to address the question of whether the Disaster Management Act would override its notification on guidelines for exams.

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Mehta questioned the stand taken by Maharashtra and Delhi. He said, "When UGC is the only body to confer degrees, how can states cancel exams and expect UGC to confer degrees?"

Mehta insisted that students need to continue to study, as they will not be granted degrees if exams are not conducted. "That's the law," he added.
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