University Grants Commission (UGC) stated before Bombay High Court that state governments do not have the authority to cancel university exams after UGC guided them to hold the exams. UGC said that the decision of Maharashtra government of not holding exams and promoting students will affect the quality of higher education in the country. Maharashtra government is in the favour to defer exams to avoid the spread of coronavirus, while the UGC thinks that doing so will affect the standards of higher education in the country.

UGC made this remark in reply to a PIL that was filed challenging Maharashtra government’s decision of June 19 to pass over 10 lakh undergraduates and postgraduates. The state government decided to confer degrees to both traditional and professional courses by internally assessing the students based on their previous marks. On July 31, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta will conduct a hearing on pleas and PIL for and against the conduct of the exams.

In an affidavit by UGC’s education minister Dr Nikhil Kumar, he mentioned that the universities in the country were instructed to hold semester/final exams by September end. The affidavit further said that the decision of Maharashtra govt opposed UGC’s revised guidelines that were released on July 6.

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Kumar said that it was a matter directly affecting standards of higher education in the country and will be an encroachment on the legislative field of coordinating and determining standards of higher education which is exclusively reserved for that parliament.

UGC said that the revised guidelines took care of the pandemic as it allowed universities to conduct exams in online and offline, both modes. States were also allowed to conduct exams in a blend of both online and offline manner. The UGC also said that the universities were given enough time till September end to hold exams with all the safety protocols.

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