COVID-19| Final Year Exams: 6 Universities have already conducted online exams despite order directing cancellation; Delhi Submits

Supreme Court: The Government of NCT of Delhi has filed the affidavit in the plea challenging the conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis and has said that it took the decision to cancel the conduct of examinations as

“In such peculiar circumstances, the students did not get the kind of preparation needed to attempt a full-fledged examination.”

The Affidavit states that best efforts were made to conduct online classes in Universities, but the reality of our digital divide is that online classes are not accessible equally by all. It further states that the completion of the teaching-learning process is fundamental to the conduct of regular examinations.

“During this extremely tough period, regular physical classes got completely interrupted. The students had no access to study material and the college libraries were closed, although getting access through online mode.”

Narinder Passi, Director of Higher Education, filing the affidavit on behalf of Delhi, stated that Deputy Chief Minister/Higher and Technical Education Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi had, in his decision dated 11.07.2020, asked all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online/offline semester examinations including final year examinations. Universities were also advised to devise alternative assessment measures to promote students of intermediary semesters and grant degrees to students of final semesters. Vice chancellors of few Universities were, however, of the view that final semester exams should still be conducted, even if other semester exams were cancelled.

Submitting the status of the conduct of examinations in the State, the Director of Higher Education states that while GGSIP University and Delhi Pharmaceutical Science and Research University are devising mechanism for assessment to award marks to final year students, the other six Universities have completed the final year Examination by online mode.

Regarding the decisions of certain State Governments to cancel the Final Year exams, UGC has, in it’s affidavit, stated that the said decision is contrary to UGC Guidelines and encroaches on Parliament’s power under Entry 66 of List I of Schedule VII to coordinate and determine the standards of higher education.

UGC has also emphasised on the need to conduct the examinations as it is the crucial step in the academic career of a student.

“… it would be irrational to exempt students from final year/terminal semester examinations and to graduate them based on their past performance.”

Final Year Student Yash Dubey, who has also challenged the Revised Guidelines, along with 31 other students,  in his rejoinder, submitted that

“it is baffling to note that just one semester of examination will be determinative of the integrity and value of a degree for which students worked hard for six (for three years course) and to ten semesters (for five year course),…”

When the Court heard the matter on July 31, 2020, Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Yash Dubey, told the Court that Heavens will not fall if exams are not conducted.

The Court is set to hear the matter tomorrow i.e. on August 10, 2020.


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