COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

“Conducting pan-India examinations in the midst of the novel pandemic would be equivalent to turning a blind eye to the interests and genuine concerns of the student fraternity, besides putting the country at a far greater risk by making this a potential reason for a possible community spread.”

A final year student has written to the Chief Justice of India Justice SA Bobde asking him to take suo-moto cognizance in the issue involving the conduct of final year examinations as directed by the University Grant Commission. The letter attempts to bring into the attention of the Court, the concern over the safety of millions of final year students and their families, invigilators, evaluators, transport authorities, support staff and several other key stakeholders, either directly or indirectly, involved in the examination process.

The letter written by Anshritha Rai, a final year student of ILS Law College, Pune, states that though the UGC has provided universities the option to conduct exams in either an offline (pen and paper) or online or blended (offline ­+ online) mode, no matter which mode is adopted, there are a myriad number of practical, technological and institutional difficulties that are sure to be encountered.

“Online mode of examinations, however, neglects socio-economic diversity and inequality of internet access. Likewise, holding physical examinations has its own glaring set of shortcomings.”

It further highlights that a large section of students reside either indifferent parts of India or in other countries. Mandating terminal semester examinations would compel these students to travel inter-state amid the virus, share rooms with other students, make arrangements for food and undergo quarantine before appearing for examinations.

“More worryingly, students and all others connected with the conduct of such exams could be potential carriers of the virus thereby posing a serious health hazard to all those that they come in contact with in the process of reaching exam centres.”

The letter also mentions that soon after the UGC Guidelines were released, the Maharashtra Government unequivocally reiterated its inability to hold final year examinations in a letter addressed to the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Moreover, UGC itself has cancelled all intermediate examinations. UGC’s guidelines, which mandatorily require final year students to appear for examinations by September end, is arbitrary and in blatant disregard of the fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

“It is highly regretful that an arbitrary distinction is being drawn between intermediate and final year students. If this exercise were to be carried out, the lives of all final year students pan India would be put in grave peril. This is evinced by the recent Karnataka SSLC exam fiasco where 32 students tested positive.”

Stating that the crisis has the potential for reforming our education system, the student states,

“The unabated focus on mandating university exams and sticking to traditional patterns is indicative of the flaws in our higher education system. Our strict examination-oriented culture has frequently come under fire for failing to develop practical skills and critical reasoning. Credibility and intellectual prowess has little to or has no connection with examination grades.”


Read the full text of the letter here

Read the details of UGC’s revised guidelines on conduct of final year exams here

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

A final year law student from Indore has written a letter to the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court raising concern over the consequential threat on the lives of millions of students by the order of University Grants Commission regarding compulsory conduct of final term examination. The letter also seeks to draw the attention of the Chief Justice towards the impassive levying of fee by the colleges and universities even in the times of great crisis not only in Indian economy but also in the global market.

Avni Jain, a final year law student of Department of Law, PIMR, Indore, through her letter, brought to the Court’s notice that despite of the announcement by the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister that the final year students shall be marked according to their highest performance in the previous year examination, the University Grants Commission, on 6th July 2020, ordered the compulsory conduct of final year examination by the end of September, 2020 in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode. She termed this Notification to be in violation of Article 21 and said forcing students to give offline exams is in absolute violation of fundamental right to life enshrined under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.

Regarding offline exams, Avni states in the letter,

“If the college or university conducts online exams the students are exposed to the myriads of problems which might arise in an online examination like unstable internet connection, crashing of computers and laptops, electricity power cuts etc. Further giving online exams would be impossible for students who do not have personal computers or laptops. These are some serious issues which must be taken into account before asking students to sit for online examination.”

The letter also highlights the concern over the conduct of ‘special exams’ and states that the said order is highly uncertain as no one knows when this pandemic ends and when would it become feasible for universities to conduct these special exams.UGC in its order has provided that the final year students who are unable to appear in the examination “may be given opportunity to appear in the special examination which may be conducted by university as and when feasible”.

“By reason of these uncertainties students are unable to plan further course of action as without a degree students are unable to get the jobs, they wouldn’t get admission for higher studies, they wouldn’t be able to sit in competitive exams and eventually it’ll make students to lose their entire academic year. These facts are causing massive impact on mental condition of students.”

The letter further draws the attention towards the practice of impassive levying of fee by the various colleges and universities even in the times of great crisis not only in Indian economy but also in the global market.

“It is pertinent to mention here that in view of the Covid 19 induced lockdown, several parents have undergone substantial pay cuts and even layoffs. It is extremely difficult for a large section of the students to even pay their tuition fee, still several colleges in Madhya Pradesh without any empathy towards student community are charging them for the expenses which never incurred due to lockdown like – Infrastructure/development fee, library fee, Internet fee, Co-curricular activities fee, other fee and so on.”

The letter goes on to state that if the college conducts online exams then students are required to buy own computers/laptops and pay for personal internet connection. Therefore charging thousands of rupees in the name of examination form fee is not justifiable and is arbitrary and unreasonable.


Read the full text of the letter here.

Read the details of UGC’s revised guidelines on conduct of final year exams here

Know thy Judge

The day marks as the death anniversary of former Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Y.V. Chandrachud who was born in Poona on 12-07-1920. He graduated with History and Economics in 1940 from the Elphinstone College, Bombay and had obtained his law degree in 1942 from ILS Law College, Pune. He enrolled as an advocate in High Court of Bombay in 1943. He was a part time professor of law in Government Law College, Bombay, from 1949 to 1952. He was appointed Judge, High Court Bombay, on 19-03-1961 and Judge, Supreme Court, on 28-08-1972. He was appointed the Chief Justice of India on 22-02-1978 and he was the longest serving CJI in India’s history at 7 years and 4 months and retired on 11-07-1985.

His son, Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud who is currently acting as Judge, Supreme Court recalls that he was alert till his last breath and even after retirement in 1985, he was actively involved in mediation and arbitration. He has several times mentioned as to how his father had a special place for criminal law in his heart and how the former CJI’s verdicts served a reformative role rather than only serve the “penological purpose.”

A true jurist, he was known to be a liberal judge and for his path breaking judgments.

His landmark judgments include:

  • Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India [(1980) 3 SCC 625] where he had laid down how a balance between fundamental rights and directive principles had to be achieved.
  • Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab [(1980) 2 SCC 565] clearly showed his empathy for criminal law where he had laid down the law of anticipatory bail. He had held that anticipatory bail must be left to judges who have the experience to take a wise decision.
  • Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum [(1985) 2 SCC 556] where he had ruled that  divorced Muslim women were entitled to claim maintenance from husbands under the Civil Procedure Code, which overrides the Muslim Personal Law.
  • Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corpn.  [(1985) 3 SCC 545] where he had extended Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution to slum dwellers, ruling that they had the right to a roof over their heads.
  • While looking at the famous judgments no one can turn a blind eye towards the case of A.D.M. Jalbalpur v. Shivakant Shukla [(1976) 2 SCC 521] famously known as the ‘Habeas Corpus case’ which had famous for the wrong reasons, where he along with Justice P.N. Bhagwati, had decided that the right to life itself could be suspended during an emergency. He went on to bec­ome chief justice and later apologized for the decision. Justice Bhagwati also publicly repented for the same.

Fun Fact: In the recent privacy judgment, K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, [(2017) 10 SCC 1] his son, Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud found occasion to correct a historical wrong and held that the ADM Jabalpur decision was seriously flawed and ruled against it.


Suchita Shukla, Legal Editor has put this story together

Hot Off The PressNews

A final year student has written to the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court raising concerns over the guidelines issued by UGC on July 6, 2020 which allowed the Universities/ Institutions to conduct terminal semester(s)/final year examinations by the end of September, 2020 in offline/online/blended mode.

The letter written by Anshritha Rai raises concerns of the safety of millions of final year students and their families, invigilators, evaluators, transport authorities, support staff and several other key stakeholders, either directly or indirectly, involved in the examination process.

Highlighting the plight of the large section of students that reside either in different parts of India or in other countries, the letter reads,

“UGC has provided universities the option to conduct exams in either an offline (pen and paper) or online or blended (offline ­+ online) mode. Online mode of examinations, however, neglects socio-economic diversity and inequality of internet access. Likewise, holding physical examinations has its own glaring set of shortcomings. Whether the offline or online or blended mode is adopted, there are a myriad number of practical, technological and institutional difficulties that are sure to be encountered.”

The letter also highlights that the cases in India are rising exponentially and as on date, there are easily over 7,60,000 cases. As per AIIMS data, India could witness a peak in COVID-19 cases as late as in mid-November. 

It further states that soon after the UGC Guidelines were released, the Maharashtra Government unequivocally reiterated its inability to hold final year examinations in a letter addressed to the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Moreover, UGC itself has cancelled all intermediate examinations. UGC’s guidelines, which mandatorily require final year students to appear for examinations by September end, is arbitrary and in blatant disregard of the fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

“It is highly regretful that an arbitrary distinction is being drawn between intermediate and final year students. If this exercise were to be carried out, the lives of all final year students pan India would be put in grave peril. This is evinced by the recent Karnataka SSLC exam fiasco where 32 students tested positive.”

Rai, in her letter, also states that there is a need for reforming the education system. She states,

“The unabated focus on mandating university exams and sticking to traditional patterns is indicative of the flaws in our higher education system. Our strict examination-oriented culture has frequently come under fire for failing to develop practical skills and critical reasoning. Credibility and intellectual prowess has little to no connection with examination grades.”

By way of this letter, the student has requested the Chief Justice to resolve the issue of terminal examinations and to bring much needed clarity about the evaluation method.


Read the full text of the letter here

Read the details of UGC’s revised guidelines on conduct of final year exams here

Appointments & TransfersNews

The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 15-10-2019 has decided to recommend elevation of Judges of High Courts as Chief Justices of the High Courts, as mentioned below:

S. No. Name of the Judge Present High Court Elevation as Chief Justice of
1. Mohammad Rafiq Rajasthan High Court Meghalaya High Court
2. Dr Ravi Ranjan (PHC: Patna) Punjab & Haryana High Court Jharkhand High Court

Supreme Court of India

Appointments & TransfersNews

President is pleased to appoint Smt. Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai, senior-most Judge of the Sikkim High Court, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court with effect from 17th September, 2019 consequent upon the retirement of Shri Justice Vijai Kumar Bist, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 13-09-2019]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Supreme Court Collegium comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and S.A. Bobde and N.V. Ramana, JJ. recommends the appointment of Justice Arup Kumar Goswami as the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court.

Office of the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court would be falling vacant shortly, consequent upon retirement of Justice V.K. Bist, Chief Justice of that High Court. Therefore, appointment to that office is required to be made.

Justice Arup Kumar Goswami is the senior-most Judge from Gauhati High Court and has been functioning there since his elevation. Having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that Justice Arup Kumar Goswami is suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.


Collegium Resolution

Supreme Court of India

Appointments & TransfersNews

President is pleased to appoint Justice Ravi Shanker Jha, senior-most Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, to perform the duties of the office of Chief Justice of the High Court with effect from 10-06-2019 consequent upon the retirement of Justice Sanjay Kumar Seth, Chief Justice, Madhya Pradesh High Court.


[Notification dt. 07-06-2019]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Appointments & TransfersNews

President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Arup Kumar Goswami, senior-most Judge of the Gauhati High Court, to perform the duties of the office of Chief Justice of that High Court with effect from the date Shri Justice Ajjikuttira Somaiah Bopanna relinquishes the charge as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court consequent upon his appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.


[Notification dt. 22-05-2019]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Appointments & TransfersNews

President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary, senior-most Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, to perform the duties of the office of Chief Justice of that High Court with effect from the date Shri Justice Surya Kant relinquishes the charge as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court consequent upon his appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.


[Notification dt. 22-05-2019]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Appointments & TransfersNews

President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel, senior-most Judge of the Jharkhand High Court, to perform the duties of the office of Chief Justice of that High Court with effect from the date Shri Justice Aniruddha Bose relinquishes the charge as Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court consequent upon his appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.


[Notification dt. 22-05-2019]

Ministry of Law and Justice

Appointments & TransfersNews

Justice A.A. Kureshi is the senior-most Judge from Gujarat High Court and at present is functioning, on transfer, in Bombay High Court. Having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that Justice A. A Kureshi is suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.


[Resolution dt. 10-05-2019]

Collegium Resolutions

Appointments & TransfersNews

Collegium comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and S.A. Bobde and N.V. Ramana, JJ. is of the considered view that Justice V. Ramasubramanian is suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.


[Resolution dt. 10-05-2019]

Collegium Resolutions