University Grants Commission’s (UGC) had passed on a circular on July 6, regarding the conduction of the final term university examinations during the novel covid 19 pandemic. The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on the pleas challenging the UGC circular.
UGC had earlier approached universities to view and get the status about the exams. It received responses from about 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 it in some time. While 209 others have already conducted examination on either on-line or off-line mode and 394 are planning to conduct examination in on-line or off-line or in a blended hybrid mode towards August or September.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, R Subshash Reddy and MR Shah, had reserved its judgment for the matter on August 18. They will be pronouncing their judgement after a detailed hearing continuing for 2 days.
Last week, four states and Union territories – Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and Odisha – had urged the apex court to give directions to the UGC to not impose examinations on lakhs of final year university students during the present condition. The court had concluded the hearing but deferred a judgement on the issue. Some states said they were not consulted before taking the decision regarding examinations and selecting the UGC guidelines. They have also said that the state governments have the power to take health related decisions in the interest of the people. The UGC Guidelines did not make sure of this and the opinion of the states were not taken into consideration while the guidelines were constructed.
A group of as many as 31 students from different universities across the country had approached the Supreme court and opposed the UGC circular dated 6 July. In that plea, the students have opposed the direction given to all universities in the country to finish taking the final year examinations before 30 September. The students have made a petition and requested for the examinations to be cancelled. They have suggested that the results of students could be calculated on the basis of their internal assessment or mid-term exams and past performance in previous years/semesters. In the petition it was requested that mark sheets of students should be issued before July 31. The petition was filed by students from across 13 states and one union territory. One of the students, among the 31 petitioners, who had tested positive for coronavirus have asked for directions from the UGC about the examinations. He has asked the UGC to adopt the CBSE model and conduct an examination at a later date. This is specially for the students who are not satisfied with their marks and the assessment of the papers. The plea suggested that previously planned examinations should be cancelled, keeping in mind the interests and health of the students in such a situation of the country, when the number of cases were rising every day. All educational educations across India were closed for the past few months due to the pandemic situation and the lockdowns. Most institutions have however started taking classes for intermediate students in the form of online classes/ lectures.
The Supreme Court will give its judgement and provide a verdict for the students, in a batch of petitions submitted for challenging the revised guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to conduct final year exams by September 30 of this year.