The Supreme Court heard a batch of petitions against UGC’s circular today, which mandated all the universities across the country to conduct exams by September end. Supreme court has sought a reply from UGC on these pleas, seeking cancellation on semester/final exams. UGC has to file its reply by Wednesday in the court and final hearing will be conducted on Friday. A three-judge bench has assembled to conduct the hearing on 4 petitions that demand cancellation of exams during Covid-19.
Supreme court has asked UGC to adopt the CBSE model and cancel the final year exams. Following the CBSE model, UGC can allow students who are not satisfied with their scores to appear in the exams that can be held later. All 4 petitions that were heard today, challenged UGC’s guidelines for holding exams before the end of the month of September. These petitions stated that conducting exams during the ongoing coronavirus crisis shall put the health of students at risk.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for UGC said that out of the total 818 universities, 209 have already conducted their final year exams using wither online or offline mode. He also informed that 394 other universities are also planning to hold exams. He said that UGC has instructed the universities to not make more than 10 students sit in a single classroom. Also, he said that UGC has allowed the universities to hold exams using online, offline, or a blend of both manners.
The four petitions registered against the UGC were heard by the top court together. The first petition had been filed by 31 students from universities across India. One of these 31 students has also tested positive for Covid-19. The second petition was by a final year student, Yash Dubey. Another student Krushna Waghmare also filed a petition and the last petition was filed by the leader of Yuva Sena, Aaditya Thackeray. Yuva Sena is also the youth wing of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena.
Senior advocate, Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared before the top court for the law student, Yash Dubey. Also, a plea filed by the students from different states read that forcing students to appear in the final year University Examination on 30.09.2020, is flagrantly violative of their Right to Life, as enshrined within Article 21 of Constitution of India.
Yuva Sena has asked UGC to allow states to promote/pass students based on their past academic performance and scores. Also, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava spoke about the enormity of the coronavirus situation in the country stating that India has reported over 50,000 cases in the past 24 hours.
Earlier UGC also warned the states against passing students without holding the exams. UGC’s decision of mandating universities and institutions to hold exams was taken after consulting with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).