The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear within the next two days a plea challenging a University Grants Commission (UGC) circular and seeking cancellation of final year examination in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. A bench of Justice Nageswara Rao posted the matter for hearing before a bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that a bench led by Justice Bhushan had already dismissed a similar plea on July 18. As many as 31 students from different universities across India approached the apex court to quash the UGC circular dated July 6 whereby all universities all across India have been asked to wrap up the final term examinations before September 30.

The students, in their petition, urged that the exams should be canceled and the results of such students should be calculated on the basis of their internal assessment or past performance. The petition filed by students from 13 states and one union territory requested that the students’ marksheets should be issued before July 31.

One of the students, among the 31 petitioners, has tested positive for COVID-19 and prayed for directions to the UGC to adopt the CBSE model and conduct an examination at a later date for the students who are not satisfied with the marks awarded on the basis of the assessment. That the planned examinations be canceled in the interest of justice for the students as the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise, the plea said.

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As per the UGC, universities were approached to inform the status of the conduct of examinations and responses received from 818 universities (121 deemed universities, 291 private universities, 51 central universities, and 355 state universities).
Out of the 818 universities, 603 have either conducted the examination or are planning to conduct. Meanwhile, 209 others have already conducted examination (on-line/off-line), 394 are planning to conduct examination (on-line/off-line/blended mode) in August or September. The commission has also said that for 35 universities, of which 27 are private, seven state-run, and one deemed university, the first batch is yet to become eligible for the final exams.

Another petition on the issue, filed in the apex court by final year law student Yash Dubey, also sought cancellation of UGC mandated final year exams. Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray has also moved the apex court on behalf of Yuva Sena, the youth wing of Shiv Sena, against the mandated final year exams in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.

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