The Supreme Court on Friday approved the decision of UGC mandating the final year exams for all Universities and colleges. However, the decision gave a privilege to Universities to postpone the examinations if they wish to do so amid Covid-19.
A Justice bench headed by Judge Ashok Bhushan in his decision said that all the states must conduct exams. It further concluded that States can however seek postponement of exams under the disaster management act.
The SC’s decision came in regards to a bunch of petitions challenging the UGC guidelines and demanding cancellation of exams. The UGC guidelines issued on 6th July mandated the conduct of final year exams by September 30 amid coronavirus situation.
The University Grants Commission conferred the court that states can postpone the exams amid coronavirus pandemic. But the degrees will not be provided without conducting the exams.
It further told the court that the issued directives are for the benefit of the students only as the Universities have to start the admissions process for post-graduation courses.
Can Disaster Management Act Overrule UGC Guidelines
The top court had identified the primary issue is that if the state authorities decided that conduct of examination under the disaster management act is not facilitative for holding exams, can UGC guidelines be overruled.
It had said that the following issue is that whether the UGC can override the disaster management act imposed by the states and ask the colleges and universities to conduct exams on the scheduled dates.
The apex court was earlier informed by the petitioners that students are not against the exams in a normal situation. The students are challenging UGC guidelines amid the pandemic situation.
The UGC had claimed that the final exams are significant in a student’s career and states cannot deny it’s directives issued on July 6.
The youth wing of Shiv Sena, the Yuva Sena is among the petitioners in the Supreme Court and has challenged the UGC guidelines mandating the conduct exams during the pandemic situation.
The UGC had earlier claimed that the directives issued on July 6 abides the recommendations of the professionals and are recommended after due consideration. It added that it’s wrong to say that it’s not practiced to conduct exams as per UGC guidelines.
On August 10, UGC challenged the autonomous decision taken by Maharashtra and Delhi governments to discontinue the final exams of state Universities.
The expert committee set up by the UGC proposed a report that final semester or year exams should be held by the end of September. The report suggested that offline, online, or blended mode of the exam be conducted before 30th September.
Assailing the decisions proposed by some states including Delhi and Maharashtra of canceling the exams, the UGC asserted that such decisions will directly impact the standards of education. Whereas schedule VII of the constitution reserves the enrichment on the legislative areas in determining and coordinating higher education standards.