UGC Vs Students: Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing to August 18
The Supreme Court, gathered today to conduct the hearing on pleas challenging the final-year examination guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC), will be hearing the case again on Tuesday, August 18. The hearing has been adjourned for now. The case was heard by Supreme Court Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy and MR Shah started the hearing at 10.30am. The hearing went on till 1 pm.
Advocate Alakh Alok argued for the students to cancel the examinations in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Shyam Divan, arguing in favour of the students and representing Yuva Sena, raised the questions on the right to life. While pointing out MHA’s directive on guidelines to be followed, he argued that “These guidelines lay down a minimum standard of strictness to be adhered to by States and UTs. They may not dilute it”.
Divan argued on the fact that “When the confirmed cases of COVID19 was only thousands, exams were postponed. So now when cases have crossed lakhs, then how can the government allow to conduct the examination,” Divan asked.
He additionally said that the students are a homogenous group and this group cannot be severed artificially by treating first-year students differently from final year students.
A group of 31 students from Assam, Bihar, Karnataka. In addition, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, and other states have demanded that final year students be promoted on the basis of their past performance.
The UGC, in its latest exam guidelines, permitted universities to promote intermediate semester students on the basis of internal assessment and past performance.
However, the guidelines made the conduct of exams mandatory for final year students in online, offline, or blended (online and offline) mode.
In the plea, filed on July 20, several issues, including the ongoing flood situation in Bihar and Assam were also mentioned.
Different states, including Maharashtra and Delhi, had previously decided to cancel final year university exams. However, UGC in the Supreme Court said that states have no power to cancel university exams.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, during the last hearing, told the bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan that states cannot change the rules of the UGC. As only it is empowered to prescribe rules for conferring degrees.
As Supreme Court’s verdict is awaited, students are running multiple social media campaigns. The final year students are demanding cancellation of exams. Also, promotion on the basis of past performance. However, degree allotment so that they can take admission for higher studies.
— Mariam Parbin (@mariam_parbin) August 13, 2020
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