SC says Students cannot be Promoted without Exams, But States can Approach Postponement
Finally wait is over. The Supreme Court has announced its verdict on UGC guidelines on Final Year Exams. The SC on Friday refused to cancel the UGC guidelines to hold the final year examinations for college and university students. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah ruled that exams must be held, and states cannot promote students without a final examination. However, states can approach the UGC for an extension on the September 30 deadline.
The SC said that the states have power under Disaster Management Act to order postponement of exams in view of pandemic and they can file an application before the UGC expressing their inability to hold examinations before the deadline of September 30.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had earlier told the top court that its July 6 directive, asking universities and colleges to conduct final year exams by September 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is “not a diktat” but states cannot take decision to confer degrees without holding the examinations.
The UGC had said that the July 6 guidelines are based on recommendations of experts and have been made after due deliberation and it is wrong to claim that it will not be possible to conduct the final examinations in terms of the guidelines.
Apart from the counsels representing the students, the state governments of Maharashtra and Delhi also had counsels arguing on their behalf on the final day of the hearing, August 18.
Arguing for the 31 students who had filed the first petition against the UGC’s guidelines, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava stated that the universities risk losing the UGC grants if they fail to comply with the guidelines issued by the Commission, according to section 14 of the UGC Act.
The UGC, on July 6, ordered all the colleges and universities to complete examinations for students in final semesters by September 30. Many states had opposed this rule since COVID-19 caseload in the states are different and many colleges and university buildings are being used as COVID quarantine centres across the country.
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