(Image source from: tribuneindia.com)
After Supreme Court received petitions seeking cancelation of final year University exams, it now seeks the UGC’s stand on conducting exams.
Supreme Court on Monday sought the University Grant Commision’s (UGC) response to a bunch of petitions seeking cancelation of final year exams of various Universities which were ordered to be completed by September 30.
The apex court received many petitions from students who sought for cancelation of exams this year citing the flood situation in many states, the COVID-19 situation and lack of transportation as the major reasons.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for UGC had said that 818 universities were governed by the commission and out of them 209 had already completed final year examinations, 394 were in the process of holding exams and 35% of these Universities did not have any final year students.
So, he stated that 80% of the universities governed by UGC were out of the purview of the relief sought by the petitioners.
A bench of justices of Supreme Court, Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah had asked the UGC to file its response within two days. Tushar Mehta had said that UGC has taken into account the difficulties that students would face while coming to write the exams.
Therefore, he said that UGC had suggested three modes to conduct the exams- completely online or offline or a mixture of two. He also said that he has asked the UGC to keep another to students who could attend the examinations due to certain difficulties in this pandemic situation.
The petitioners have challenged the July 6 decision of the HRD ministry after which UGC has asked the universities to conduct exams by September 30. The petitioners argued that with COVID-19 spreading across the country in large numbers and with many students’ relatives suffering from the disease, it would be inhuman to ask students to attend the examinations.
The petition also mentioned the ordeal of students from flood affected areas of Assam and Bihar where the communication links have been cut off, it would be very difficult for them to attend the exams even if they are conducted online.
The petitioners have also urged the Supreme Court to help the students in this matter.
Senior Advocate A M Singhvi said to the court that since the number of cases are rising daily it would be imprudent to ask the students to write exams and instead they should be awarded the marks based on their past performances or it should be left for individual states to decide according the condition of the pandemic in their respective states.
He added that many states like Maharashtra and West Bengal have held back on conducting the final exams of universities worrying the imminent consequences.
Responding to Supreme Court order, Tushar Mehta had said that UGC would file its response by Wednesday and said that many petitions on the same issue were pending in the high courts.
Supreme Court which was had earlier posted the matter for hearing on August 10 had advanced it to July 31.
By Gayatri Yellayi