The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to respond to the petitions challenging its July 6 directive to all the universities and colleges across India to conduct final year examinations by September 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The SC gave UGC 48 hours to respond to a series of petitions filed by students in this regard.
“Counter affidavit be filed on or before the next date of hearing,” the bench said in its order. The next hearing in this matter will be on July 31, 2020
The petitions were heard by a three-judge bench of the top court, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah.
Earlier on July 7, the UGC had said the term end examination for all final-year students would have to be mandatorily held by the end of September 2020, in offline or online mode.
Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi said during the hearing that, ‘the circular gave the States no discretion to take a call on the exams even as cases have been increasing every day. This is unreal, forced and harsh. Many States are opposed,” he said
Yuva Sena in their petition have demanded that the UGC should allow individual state governments to pass the final year students based on the candidate’s past performance.
The petitioners have also demanded that the UGC should not mandate conducting the exams amid the COVID-19 health crisis
The counsel appearing for one of the petitioners told the bench that several states have raised objections over conducting exams amid the pandemic.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the counsel for the University Grants Commission said that the UGC has provided several alternatives for the students, including taking their exams online. “Students can also have a mix of both online and physical exams, wherein 10 students will sit in each room. There are also special exams for those who have been left out”, he stated.
He also added that there were a total of 818 universities across the country. Thirty-five of them were new and had not reached the stage of final exams, while 209 have completed the examinations and around 390 universities are in the process of conducting the examinations.