Supreme Court: The Court had finally reserved it’s verdict in a batch of petitions filed by Final Year students challenging UGC’s revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 regarding conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis. It has given liberty to all the parties to file their written submissions, if any, within a period of 3 days.
UGC has, during the hearing, 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. Dr Singhvi also submitted that “a Farman has been issued with complete non application of mind to complete exams by September 2020.”
Ministry of Home Affairs filed an affidavit and has said while the MHA Unlock-3 Guidelines dated 29.07.2020 continue to require schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions to remain closed till 31.08.2020, the universities/institutions will be and are clearly intended to be exempted from the said restriction for the limited purpose of holding Final Term Examinations / evaluation work in terms of the UGC guidelines on examinations.
Earlier, UGC had stated that the decision of the State Government to cancel final year/terminal semester examinations and graduate students without such examinations, encroaches on the legislative field of coordinating and determining the standards of higher education that is exclusively reserved for Parliament under Entry 66 of List I of Schedule VH of the Constitution.
UGC submitted that
“it aims to protect the academic future of students across the country which will be irreparably damaged if their final year/terminal semester examinations are not held, while also keeping in mind their health and safety.”
Maharashtra Students’ Union, a non-profit organization working for welfare of students, more particularly students pursuing higher education, filed an Intervention Application in the plea challenging UGC’s revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 regarding conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis.
It submitted that a Bachelor’s degree is conferred on the basis of a collective assessment of all 3 years of a Bachelor’s course and not of the final semester alone. The affidavit states that
“the last examination or the final examination of students of Higher and Technical Education does not carry any special weightage or decisive value which a final year examination used to carry in the erstwhile education system, as the evaluation is done on a cumulative assessment of all semesters in a degree course.”
- UGC’s response to the Petition
- Rejoinder by Students
- Maharashtra’s Affidavit
- Delhi’s Affidavit
- Odisha’s affidavit
- Maharashtra Students’ Union’s affidavit
- UGC’s Counter Affidavit
- MHA’s response
- Details of UGC’s revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 on conduct of final year exams
- MHA Unlock-3 Guidelines dated 29.07.2020
- Final Year Exams: “Heavens will not fall if exams are not conducted”, AM Singhvi tells SC