The Supreme Court on Friday heard a batch of pleas challenging UGC guidelines that mandate universities and institutions to conduct final year exams by September-end. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan heard the matter and adjourned the case till August 10 for further hearing.

In today’s hearing, senior advocate Dr Singhvi stated that many universities in Maharashtra and West Bengal have been converted into Covid-19 centres. He added that bar council has cancelled the exams as well. Dr Singhvi told the court that the guidelines of UGC ignore the MHA guidelines as they state that schools and colleges should remain closed till August 31.

In a rebuttal to the above claim of Dr Singhvi, the top court said that the purpose of MHA guidelines does not relate to the exams. UGC guidelines were issued before the MHA, hence UGC could not take MHA guidelines into account. Justice Ashok Bhushan has asked the Maharashtra government to place State Disaster Management committee’s decision. When a lawyer cited that Assam is currently facing floods and pointed out how students will commute, the bench said that the matter will be heard on August 10.

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After the hearing, UGC said that nobody should be under the impression that final exams due by September-end will be cancelled because SC is hearing the case. Students should continue to prepare for their exams.

UGC has been adamant on its decision to conduct final year exams by September 30. Supporting its stand, UGC has said that July 6 guidelines have been designed to protect the higher education standards in India.

The petitioners, on the other hand, have demanded UGC to adopt CBSE’s pattern which passes the students on the basis of past academic performances. As per CBSE’s method, students who are not satisfied with marks can re-appear for the exams once normalcy is ensured. The batch of petitions that stand against UGC’s guidelines states that conducting the exams during the ongoing coronavirus crisis shall put the health of students at risk.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan appeared for the chief of Yuva Sena, Aaditya Thackeray. Yuva Sena is the youth wing of Shiv Sena. Senior Advocate, Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for final year law student Yash Dubey. And the lead petition (petition by 31 students from various states) filed by Anubha was argued by Advocate Alakh.

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