Supreme Court to pronounce judgement on final year exams today

The students in their petition demanded cancellation of exams amid coronavirus pandemic. The petition also urged UGC to base their results on internal assessment and past performance.

The Supreme Court will pronounce the verdict on the pleas challenging University Grants Commission’s (UGC) circular and instead demand cancellation of final year exams/ terminal semester examinations to be held before September. A 3-judge bench headed by justice Ashok Bhushan will pronounce it’s verdict at 10.30 am on September 28.

The UGC had on 6 July held that all universities must conduct final year exams before September 30. In an issued circular, universities were approached to get the status about the examinations and responses were received from 818 universities, it said.

Out of the 818 universities, 603 have either conducted the examination or are planning to conduct. While 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.

Petition to cancel final year exams

Last week, four states and Union Territories (Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and Odisha) had urged the Supreme Court to consider scrapping or the final year exams in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The petitioners also demanded the apex court to direct the UGC to base their results on internal assessments and past performances.

States including Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have cancelled university exams including final year exams. However, the UGC has maintained that it shall confer students with degrees unless universities conduct final year exams. In its statement
earlier it had also concluded that the commission alone can decide whether exams be cancelled or not.

“State governments cannot cancel examinations. That power lies with the UGC,” solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of UGC told the top court on August 8.

As reported by Mint, States said they were not consulted before finalizing the UGC guidelines. They also argued that state governments have the power to take health-related decisions in the interest of people and the UGC exam guidelines interfere with their rights.

The Supreme Court has received over 31 petitions from different universities across India that oppose the UGC circular of July 6. The petitioners demanded that planned examinations be cancelled in the interest of justice for the students as the number of virus cases is surging across the country. All educational educations across India were closed for the past few months due to Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in various states.

Meanwhile, coronavirus in India has peaked up to 3,310,200 cases. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 60,472 people had died as of Thursday morning.

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