No degree without exam: UGC Tells Supreme Court

The UGC in its affidavit filed by solicitor General Tushar Mehta has stated that universities are required to conduct final year exams by September 30th.

The UGC in the Supreme Court on Monday questioned the decisions by Maharashtra and Delhi governments to cancel final year exams. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan that states cannot change the rules of the UGC as only the UGC is empowered to prescribe rules for conferring degrees.

In his statement before the bench, Mehta argued that not conducting exams will not be in the interest of students. He also asked students to continue preparing for exams.

“If exams are not conducted, the students will not be granted degrees. That’s the law!”

-Solicitor General Tushar Mehta

The apex court on Monday finally heard a batch of pleas that challenged the July 6 directive that all universities and colleges must conduct final year examinations by September 30.

The hearing was conducted through video conferencing amid the rising cases of coronavirus pandemic in the country. Mehta also said that the UGC will file a response impact of orders passed under the NDMA act on the UGC guidelines soon. The bench headed by Justice Bhushan, R. Shubhash Reddy, and Mr. Shah granted time to the UGC to file an affidavit and posted the matter for further hearing on August 14th.

The UGC in its earlier affidavit told the Supreme Court that the academic future of students across the country would be irreparably damaged if the final year, terminal examinations are not held. It also added that in case, students are unable to appear, then they would be given a chance of a specially-conducted exam at a later date.

Solicitor General Mehta also raised the issue regarding guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs for educational institutions amid the pandemic. He also informed the bench that out of over 800 universities in the country, 209 have completed the examinations while around 390
universities are in the process of conducting exams.

Meanwhile, the revised UGC guideline allows final year examinations to be conducted by the end of September. The exams will either be online, offline, or through a combination of both. First and second-year students won’t have a change in guideline and will be assessed internally based on the marks scored in previous semesters.

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