Case BriefsDistrict Court

   

City Sessions Court, Mumbai: In a bail application filed by Pravin Raut (A3) and Sanjay Raut (A5) against arrest made by Directorate of Enforcement (ED) due to allegations relating to selling free sale component, generating proceeds of crime and laundering of about Rs. 95 Cr./ Rs. 100 Cr./ Rs. 112 Cr., M.G. Deshpande, J., granted bail and held that both accused are arrested illegally and are entitled to parity in view of disparity made by the ED in not arresting the main accused persons Rakesh (A1), Sarang (A2), their HDIL, MHADA and Government Officials/staff responsible for misdeeds of Rakesh and Sarang (A1 and A2) at the relevant time in 2006-2018.

Pravin Raut prayed for grant of bail contending his innocence and false implication whereas ED strongly opposed the application alleging his active involvement in generation, placement, layering and integration of proceeds of crime (POC), amounting to a serious offence of money laundering. Sanjay Raut prayed for grant of bail on the same ground and ED opposed the application alleging that Sanjay Raut is involved in the crime right from the beginning in the process of generation, placement, layering and integration of the proceeds of crime and thus committed serious offence of Money Laundering under Sec. 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

On perusal of documents placed before the Court, it was noted that Pravin Raut was arrested based on charges of civil nature and Sanjay Raut was arrested for no credible reasons to be seen. This truth is glaring. The Court is under a legal obligation and duty to find out the truth even at the stage of bail. The Supreme Court time and again laid down, “Truth is the guiding star. Criminal trial is voyage of discovery of truth. The truth alone triumphs and every endeavour must be made by the Court to discover the truth and make justice.”

The Court further noted that simply labeling pure civil disputes with “money laundering” or “an Economic Offence” itself cannot automatically acquire such status and ultimately drag an innocent person in a miserable situation in the guise of arrest under Section 19 and stringent twin conditions of Section 45(1)(i)(ii) of PML Act, 2002. The Court must do what is right irrespective of who is before it.

The Court remarked that in the given set of facts, if MHADA, who is party to every stage and every litigation, had reached up to the High Court, yet lodged FIR for the alleged transaction allegedly taken place during 2006 to 2013. Thus, the conduct of MHADA right from beginning till date is suspicious and even ED admitted the same in their complaints, yet ED has not made any MHADA staff accused.

The Court further remarked that Rakesh and Sarang (A1 and A2) are allegedly the main accused persons as admitted by affidavit of Sarang Wadhawan, and still were not arrested by the ED and were left unscathed. All this clearly indicates disparity, pick and choose attitude of the ED.

The Court opined that many statements of witnesses recorded by ED clearly refer the prominent role of Wadhawans (A1 and A2) and their HDIL, but they were not arrested and Pravin Raut (A3) and Sanjay Raut (A5) who have absolutely no concern in generating POC or laundering money as well as indulging the criminal activities relating to the scheduled offence, were arrested for subsequent transactions, they have made from their own money.

The Court observed that extreme and exceptional power of effecting arrest which ought to have been used very sparingly, has been used by the ED Investigating Officers under Section 19 of PMLA, is abinitio Illegal and held that the question of attracting rigors of stringent twin conditions under Section 45(1)(i)(ii) of PML Act, 2002 do not arise and both accused cannot be detained in judicial custody.

[Pravin Madhukar Raut v. Directorate of Enforcement, PMLA Special Case No. 356 of 2022, decided on 09-11-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Aabad Ponda, Ld. Sr. Counsel @ Mr. Nitesh Jain, Mr. Hridhay Khurana, Ld. Advs. i/b Trilegal for the Applicant(A3);

Mr. Hiten Venegavkar @ Mrs. Kavita Patil, Ld. Spl. P. Ps.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this.

Bombay High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: While taking suo- motu cognizance of the news item published in Times of India, (Nagpur edition), dated 05-09-2022, which mentioned the proposed move of the Forest Department to shift wild elephants to some zoo; the Division Bench of Sunil B. Shukre and Valmiki SA Menezes, JJ., observed that the issue highlighted in the news is of seminal importance the view-point of the public interest. The Court was also of the view that the issue raises an even more fundamental question regarding the rights of wild animals within a society dominated by human beings in general and within the framework of the Constitution in particular.

Background: The above-mentioned news article was brought to the Court’s attention by J.T. Gilda, Senior Advocate, who stated that the proposed move is contrary to the directions laid down by the Supreme Court.

He further submitted that migration of wild elephants to Gadchiroli forest from some other areas is a sign of good health of the forest and should be seen as a welcome development. However, instead of treating this development in a positive way, the Forest Department is taking regressive steps, which are against the interest of wild animals of the forests of Maharashtra, the tribal population of Gadchiroli and the environment in general.

It was also submitted that wild elephants have chosen forest areas lying within Gadchiroli district as their natural habitat, and that these elephants cannot be taken out of this area without proper resolution having been passed by the Kamalpur village panchayat and in this case, the village panchayat has passed a resolution against shifting of wild elephants elsewhere.

Observations and Directions: Noting the importance of the issue, the Bench poignantly observed that animals (both wild and domesticated) have not been bestowed with mental faculties including faculty of speech as a human being, it is difficult for human society to seek consent of the affected animals before they are forcibly removed from one area to another area; but that should not deter a human being from devising some method where rights of the wild animals against their forcible removal and in respect of other matters are equally respected as that of man and a balance is struck between the rights of man and rights of animals including wild animals.

The Court also pointed out that ancient Hindu texts have already recognized the rights of animals, birds and every living creature and regarded every living being as having emerged from same divine power as man, thus deserving due respect, love and affection. The Bench also referred to an Abhang composed by Sant Tukaram to put emphasis on its observation.

The Bench also noted the concerns vis-a-vis biodiversity conservation and preservation. It was observed that the presence of wild elephants adds to biodiversity of Gadchiroli forest and, therefore, it is the duty of the State to do everything to preserve the population of wild elephants in Gadchiroli. Any move to shift them to a zoo would result in harming the biodiversity and would be against the spirit of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Directions: With the afore-stated observations, the Court directed that the Union of India, State of Maharashtra and concerned departments be added as respondents. J.T. Gilda, Senior Advocate was appointed as an Amicus Curiae.

The next date of hearing was fixed on 08-09-2022, where the Court directed that additional parties be impleaded as respondents and appropriate petition to be drafted. The next date of the hearing has been fixed for 15-09-2022.

[Court on its Own Motion, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 2047, decided on 07-09-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

J.T. Gilda, Senior Advocate assisted by P.S. Tembhare, Advocate


*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has prepared this brief.

Bombay High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Bombay High Court: While perusing the newly framed Policy for Environmentally Safe Making and Immersion of Idols/Tazia and its Enforcement (‘the Policy'), as drafted by Maharashtra Government’s Environment and Climate Change Ministry, the Division Bench of A.S. Chandurkar and Urmila Joshi-Phalke, JJ., observed that the presented Policy which will be operational for this year (2022), must be given adequate publicity so as to create awareness in the public. The Bench also expressed its hope that the local authorities will also take necessary steps to dutifully follow the Policy, so that it achieves its intended targets for this year.

Background: The High Court in Court on its own Motion v. Union of India, [SMPIL No. 3/2021] dated 13-07-2022, had directed the State Government to frame a suitable policy regulating the use of plaster of paris (PoP) in making of idols and other articles which are ultimately released into water bodies during Visarjan (immersion) ceremony. It was also directed that the Policy should contain requisite regulations, prohibitions, machinery for implementation, mechanism for dealing with the policy, its non-compliances and consequences.

Pursuant to the afore-stated Directions, the Environment and Climate Change Ministry constituted a Technical Committee (which included the representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board) on 10-08-2022 and was directed to frame a policy. Subsequently, the Policy titled Policy for Environmentally Safe Making and Immersion of Idols/Tazia and its Enforcement, was therefore placed before the Court in the instant matter.

Submissions by the State Government: The counsels of the State submitted that-

  • The Policy presented deals with the manner in which the idols are to be immersed, preferably in artificial water bodies rather than rivers, lakes and ponds has been enumerated.

  • The role and responsibilities of the local and urban authorities have been stipulated as well.

  • The said Policy will be operational until a comprehensive policy is framed for the same.

  • It was further submitted that all the stakeholders will be consulted while framing a comprehensive policy which would operate from 2023. Suggestions would also be invited from people concerned about climate change and the environment and those suggestions will be duly considered by the Technical Committee.

  • It was submitted that the Government would be open to the suggestions of the Amicus Curiae and other interested parties, which could be incorporated in the policy that is to be framed.

The afore-stated submissions were accepted by the Court with the expectations that sufficient steps will be taken by the State Government and Local Authorities in promoting the Policy and achieving its goals. The matter would be further considered on 21-09-2022.

[Court on its own Motion v. Union of India, Suo Motu PIL No. 3/2021, decided on 29-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

S.P. Bhandarkar, Amicus Curiae.

N.S. Deshpande, Assistant Solicitor General of India , Advocate, for the Respondent Nos.1 and 2;

S.V. Manohar, Senior Advocate with K.S. Joshi, In-charge Government Pleader, Advocate, for the respondent No.3;

C.S. Kaptan, Senior Advocate with S.S. Sanyal, Advocate, for the Respondent No.4;

Harshit Khandar, Advocate, for the Intervenor.


*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has prepared this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Vacation Bench of Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala, JJ has given a go ahead to the Special Session of the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha to be convened at 11:00 on 30.0­6.­2022 for trust vote.

The order came when Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the matter before the Court at 5pm on 29.06.2022 and the hearing concluded at 9pm. The writ petition sought for setting aside the Maharashtra Governor’s communication/directions dated 28­6­2022 to the Chief Minister of   Maharashtra as also the Secretary, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly to conduct the Trust Vote on 30.06.2022 and conclude it by 5pm.

The Supreme Court has “found no reason” to interfere with the aforementioned direction and has directed that the special session be conducted as per the Governor’s directions. As an aftermath of the order, Uddhav Thakrey has resigned as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra[1].

[Sunil Prabhu v. Governor of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 776, order dated 29.06.2022]


For petitioners: Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Sr.Adv., Mr. Devadatt Kamat, Sr. Adv., Mr. Javedur Rahman, AOR, Mr. Rajesh Inamdar, Adv., Mr. Shivendra Singh, Adv., Mr. Hemant Shah, Adv., Mr. Amit Bhandari, Adv., Mr. Sunny Jain, Adv., Mr. Nidhiram, Adv., Mr. Harsh Pandey, Adv., Mr. Revanta Solanki, Adv.

For Respondent(s): Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG, Mr. Satyapal Jain, ASG, Mr. Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Sr. Adv., Mr. Siddharth Bhatnagar, Sr. Adv., Mr. Rajat Nair, Adv., Mr. Kanu Agarwal, Adv., Mr. A.K. Sharma, AOR,  Mr. Siddharth Dharmadhikari, Adv., Mr. Abhikalp Pratap Singh, AOR, Ms. Gunjan Mangla, Adv., Ms. Aagam Kaur, Adv., Mr. Abhay Anturkar, Adv., Ms. Aarzoo Aneja, Adv., Mr. Dhruv Sharma, Adv., Ms. Ira Mahajan, Adv., Ms. Pracheta Kar, Adv., Ms. Aadya Yadav, Adv., Mr. Toshiv Goyal, Adv., Mr. Raghav Agrawal, Adv., Mr. Ramchandra Madan, Adv., Mr. Deepak Joshi, Adv., Mr. Maninder Singh, Sr. Adv., Mr. Mahesh Jethmalani, Sr. Adv., Mr. Chirag Shah, Adv., Mr. Utsav Trivedi, Adv., Mr. Abhinay, AOR, Mr. Himanshu Sacheva, Adv., Ms. Manini Roy, Adv., Mr. Pooran Chand Roy, Adv., Ms. Shivani Bhushan, Adv., Mr. Rahul Garg, Adv., Mr. Prabhas Bajaj, Adv., Mr. Pranav Saigal, Adv., Mr. Rahul Chitnis, Adv., Mr. Sachin Patil, AOR, Mr. Geo Joseph, Adv., Ms. Shewtal Shepal, Adv.


[1] The Tribune, June 29, 2022, https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/thackeray-govt-floor-test-live-updates-supreme-court-begins-hearing-on-shiv-senas-plea-challenging-governors-direction-to-govt-408027

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of G.S. Patel and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., considered petitions which raised questions about the interpretation of the validity of two circulars issued by the Inspector General of Registration and Controller of Stamps, Maharashtra State dated 23-06-2015 and 30-03-2017.

It was stated that the issue will affect a large number of redevelopment projects across the State because it pertained to the stamp duty that was correctly payable on instruments typical in such projects. In Mumbai, in particular, redevelopment by societies would be affected.

Estimated Stamp duty liability by the petitioners was adjudicated at about Rs 27 lakhs and they were required to deposit 50% of the amount in each matter.

Court stated that,

Subject to that deposit being made by 3rd January 2022 and on the further undertaking, which we accept, to pay the balance if found due by this Court and if the Petitions fail, we permit the Petitioners to proceed with registration of the permanent alternate accommodation agreements in the form proposed. 

Elaborating further, High Court added that, the Sub-Registrar of Assurances and the Collector of Stamps will permit the registration of the documents in question without insisting on payment of the adjudicated stamp duty liability.

Bench held that no registration will be permitted unless and until the deposits are made.

If deposits will not be made by 3-1-2022, interim protection will cease without further reference of the Court and the petitioners will not be entitled to have any of the documents registered.

Sub-Registrar of Assurances and the Collector of the Stamps are directed to act on production of an authenticated copy of the present order.

Court also requests Advocate Samit Shukla, partner at DSK Legal who was present in Court to assist as Amicus, further the Court requested him to brief counsel of his choice and if possible, either Mr Mayur Khanderparkar or Mr Karl Tamboly, each of whom had considerable experience in such matters.

Matter to be listed for final disposal on 3-2-2022. [Adityaraj Builders v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 5516, decided on 9-12-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr Dharam Sharma i/b Mr Sandeep Waghmare i/b Mr Jayesh Jain, for the Petitioner.

Ms Jyoti Chavan, AGP, for the Respondents-State.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of N.R.Borkar and K.K.Tated, JJ., directed State government to hand over the peaceful possession of the ready to use BSL-3 vaccine manufacturing unit, Pune from M/s. Intervet India Pvt. Ltd. to Biovet Pvt. Ltd. along with the requisite rights, responsibilities and obligations to deal with all the matters with respect to the vaccine manufacturing property.

The Applicants had sought directions to grant appropriate licenses/permissions/ NOCs in a time-bound manner to enable manufacture of FMD vaccine/ Covaxin against Covid-19 and other life saving vaccine on the said land and unit. The instant application had been filed pursuant to the order of Deputy Conservator of Forest, Pune, rejecting the application of the applicant to re-examine and review the order passed by the Assistant Conservator of Forest, Pune wherein, the applicant was denied approval to start manufacturing activities of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine and vaccine for Covid-19 on the said manufacturing unit.

The applicant submitted that though the petition in the said matter is pending, it had approached the Court with interim application since the plant and machinery is lying idle because of the dispute between the Petitioners and the Respondent-State. It was submitted that   considering the present position of the Covid-19 it may be granted permission to start manufacturing of FMD vaccine and Covaxin, which is very useful in Covid-19 period.

The counsel for the State, Mr. Kumbhakoni had submitted that the State had no objection and the Applicant can use the said premises for manufacturing lifesaving vaccines including Covaxin used for Covid-19 without claiming any right, title and interest in respect of the said property. Further, the State assured to cooperate to the Applicants, for grant of any permission if required to start manufacturing activities and the same will be decided without wasting time, considering the present Covid-19 position in Maharashtra.

Considering the present position of Covid-19 and that the applicant is ready and willing to start manufacturing activities without prejudice to the rights and contentions of both the parties in the pending proceeding, the Bench allowed the interim application and the same was disposed of with following directions:

  • That pending the final disposal of the above petition, the Respondents shall handover peaceful possession of the ready to use BSL-3 vaccine manufacturing facilities and equipment therein from M/s. Intervet India Pvt. Ltd. to the applicant along with the requisite rights, responsibilities and obligations to deal with all matters with respect to this vaccine manufacturing property.
  • The State shall grant appropriate licenses/permissions/NOCs required to the Applicant in a time-bound manner to enable manufacture of FMD vaccine, Covaxin against Covid-19 & other lifesaving vaccines in the said plant on the said land.
  • The State shall permit the Applicant to carry out appropriate structural changes for enhancement & further scaling up of the manufacturing of lifesaving vaccines, including Covaxin to immediately utilize the maximum installed capacity.
  • The Applicants cannot claim any equity on the basis of this order at the time of hearing of writ petition.
  • All contentions of both the parties are kept open.

[Biovet Pvt. Ltd.  v. The Collector, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 707, decided on 06-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Appearance before the Court by:

Counsels for the Applicant: R.D. Soni, Mr. Sujay Gawde and Shree & Co.

Counsels for the State: AG A.A. Kumbhakoni, GP P.P. Kakade, Akshay Shinde with  AGP R.M. Shinde

Counsels for the Respondent-9: Prathamesh Kamat, Zoeb Cuterwala, Vikram Kamat and Phoeni Legal

Hot Off The PressNews

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.”


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Hot Off The PressNews

State of Odisha has filed an affidavit in the plea challenging UGC’s revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 regarding conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis and has said that  the impugned Revised Guidelines of the university Grants commission fails to notice that the sanctity of such final examinations, if held, will be greatly compromised while holding the examinations inasmuch as:

(1) there will be single sitting examination for all subjects;

(2) the duration of the examinations will be short;

(3) the assessment will be made on the basis of multiple choice  questions in place of subjective questions;

(4) there might be unfair practices, which may include an open book examination etc taking into account the current COVID- 19 situation.

Therefore, the examinations should not be conducted just for the sake of conducting it.

The State also highlights that UGC has failed to take note of the Government of Odisha, Higher Education Department letter dated 18.06.2020 wherein the alternative evaluation method for Under Graduate and Post Graduate Final Year/Final Semester 2020 students was spelt out. Nor has it considered the letters dated 09.07.2020 and 23.07.2020 highlighting the various difficulties in the present COVID-19 scenario and requesting him to re-examine the entire issue and to allow the State Government to implement its own decision by not making the Revised Guidelines mandatory on the State Government.

The State submits that,

“State of Odisha is not shying away from holding the final examinations but only prays that during the present time the holding of final examinations should be kept in abeyance and the alternative evaluation system should be adopted.”

UGC, in its response, however, stated that the letter dated 18.06.2020 is in contravention to the Revised Guidelines and that any decision of State Government to cancel the exams or to graduate the students by using ‘alternative evaluation system’ will be in contravention of the UGC Revised Guidelines as UGC has taken a Policy Decision backed by the statute in the interest of students.

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, in it’s response to the affidavit filed by the State of NCT of Delhi, UGC stated that Delhi’s decision 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. As such, the State Government’s decision dated 11.07.2020 is contrary to the UGC’s Guidelines which have been issued for maintaining the standards of higher education and is void ab initio.

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.”

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ, had on August 10, 2020, sought a reply on whether the Disaster Management Act can override the UGC’s guidelines and posted the matter for further hearing on August 14, 2020.

Maharashtra, in it’s affidavit, has mentioned that after deliberating on the issue at length, the State Disaster Management Authority constituted under the  Disaster Management Act, 2005 took the decision of not holding the last year final semester examinations for both professional and non-professional courses.

NCT of Delhi has submitted that the Deputy Chief Minister/Higher and Technical Education Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online/offline semester examinations including final year examinationsUniversities have also been advised to devise alternative assessment measures to promote students of intermediary semesters and grant degrees to students of final semesters.

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.

On the last hearing i.e. on August 14, Dr Singhvi submitted that “a Farman has been issued with complete non application of mind to complete exams by September 2020.”

The Court is hearing the matter today.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: After the MHA and UGC submitted their affidavits and yet again defended it’s Revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 on the ground that the conduct the examinations as it is the crucial step in the academic career of a student and that the States had no authority to cancel the examinations, Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Yash Dubey, told the Court that  “a Farman has been issued with complete non application of mind to complete exams by September 2020.”

Highlights of Dr. Singhvi’s arguments

  • exams cannot be conducted when no teaching has taken place.
  • all the students are a part of one homogeneous group and that the students of final year cannot be treated differently from rest of the years.
  • minutes of meeting of 13th July filed by Maharashtra in its affidavit is very clear that more than 10 lac students will travel, arrange for meals, use public transport which will jeopardize them grossly.
  • parents and grandparents of the students, the most vulnerable to the virus, will also be exposed to it.
  • Most of us, including me, are doing it for free for this cause concerning students

Dr. Singhvi has concluded his arguments in the matter and the Court will now take up the matter on August 18, 2020.

Highlights of Advocate Malak Bhatt’s Submission

  • Stand taken by the MHRD and the UGC are not only contrary to the clear directions passed by the MHA under the National Disaster Management Act, but also far away from the harsh realities of the present pandemic situation.
  • UGC guidelines undermine the paramount concern of student health and safety and is clearly violative of rights under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • Directions to conduct exams through offline or online modes with a mandate to complete them by end-September is also far from reality on the infrastructural facilities available with rural universities in specific to conduct exams in such times

Yesterday, Ministry of Home Affairs filed an affidavit in the plea challenging UGC’s revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 regarding conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis 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, in it’s response to the affidavit filed by the State of NCT of Delhi, UGC stated that Delhi’s decision 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. As such, the State Government’s decision dated 11.07.2020 is contrary to the UGC’s Guidelines which have been issued for maintaining the standards of higher education and is void ab initio.

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.”

Yesterday, 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.”

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ, had on August 10, 2020, sought a reply on whether the Disaster Management Act can override the UGC’s guidelines and posted the matter for further hearing on August 14, 2020.

Maharashtra, in it’s affidavit, has mentioned that after deliberating on the issue at length, the State Disaster Management Authority constituted under the  Disaster Management Act, 2005 took the decision of not holding the last year final semester examinations for both professional and non-professional courses.

NCT of Delhi has submitted that the Deputy Chief Minister/Higher and Technical Education Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online/offline semester examinations including final year examinationsUniversities have also been advised to devise alternative assessment measures to promote students of intermediary semesters and grant degrees to students of final semesters.

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.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Hot Off The PressNews

After UGC, Ministry of Home Affairs has also filed an affidavit in the plea challenging UGC’s revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 regarding conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis 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.

MHA submits that after the Ministry of Human Resource Development wrote to it on July 4, 2020 regarding the conduct of examinations, it after taking into consideration the academic interest of a large number of students, decided to grant exemption for the opening of educational institutions for the purposes of holding examinations/evaluation work for Final Term Examinations of the Universities/Institutions. The said decision was conveyed to MHRD on July 6, 2020. It was made clear that such Final Term Examinations were to be compulsorily conducted as per the ‘Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities’; and as per the detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the conduct of such examinations, which had been approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

MHA, in it’s affidavit, submits that the Union Home Secretary has granted the aforesaid exemption for conduct of Final Term Examinations in exercise of powers under section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act 2005. The said provision empowers the National Executive Committee to “lay down guidelines for, or give directions to, the concerned Ministries or Departments of the Government of India, the State Governments and the State Authorities regarding measures to be taken by them in response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster”.

Earlier today, in it’s response to the affidavit filed by the State of NCT of Delhi, UGC stated that Delhi’s decision 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. As such, the State Government’s decision dated 11.07.2020 is contrary to the UGC’s Guidelines which have been issued for maintaining the standards of higher education and is void ab initio.

UGC submits 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.”

Yesterday, 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.”

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ, had on August 10, 2020, sought a reply on whether the Disaster Management Act can override the UGC’s guidelines and posted the matter for further hearing on August 14, 2020.

Maharashtra, in it’s affidavit, has mentioned that after deliberating on the issue at length, the State Disaster Management Authority constituted under the  Disaster Management Act, 2005 took the decision of not holding the last year final semester examinations for both professional and non-professional courses.

NCT of Delhi has submitted that the Deputy Chief Minister/Higher and Technical Education Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online/offline semester examinations including final year examinationsUniversities have also been advised to devise alternative assessment measures to promote students of intermediary semesters and grant degrees to students of final semesters.

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.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

UGC has filed a counter affidavit in the in the plea challenging UGC’s revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 regarding conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis. In it’s affidavit, UGC has submitted that it has taken a policy decision to conduct final year/terminal semester examinations in the interest of students across the country after duly considering the prevailing situation of a pandemic.

In it’s response to the affidavit filed by the State of NCT of Delhi, UGC states that Delhi’s decision 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. As such, the State Government’s decision dated 11.07.2020 is contrary to the UGC’s Guidelines which have been issued for maintaining the standards of higher education and is void ab initio.

 The affidavit highlights that Delhi has itself submitted that the examination / assessment process was actually completed “by online mode” in six out of the eight State universities/institutions in Delhi, despite the pandemic. It states that Delhi has

“unilaterally chosen to cancel the final year/terminal semester examinations and graduate students using “alternative assessment measures” in contravention of the UGC’s Guidelines, even though it was required to hold such examinations in the interest of the students.”

UGC submits 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.

Yesterday, 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.”

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ, had on August 10, 2020, sought a reply on whether the Disaster Management Act can override the UGC’s guidelines and posted the matter for further hearing on August 14, 2020.

Maharashtra, in it’s affidavit, has mentioned that after deliberating on the issue at length, the State Disaster Management Authority constituted under the  Disaster Management Act, 2005 took the decision of not holding the last year final semester examinations for both professional and non-professional courses.

NCT of Delhi has submitted that the Deputy Chief Minister/Higher and Technical Education Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online/offline semester examinations including final year examinationsUniversities have also been advised to devise alternative assessment measures to promote students of intermediary semesters and grant degrees to students of final semesters.

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.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Hot Off The PressNews

Maharashtra Students’ Union, a non-profit organization working for welfare of students, more particularly students pursuing higher education, has 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.

The Union, in it’s application, states that the guidelines dated 29.04.2020 or the revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 issued by the University Grants Commission are neither mandatory nor binding on the State Authority set up under Section 14 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

“In case of a conflict between laws made either by the Parliament and/or State Legislature and the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the latter shall prevail in accordance with the provisions of Section 72 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.”

Union has submitted that while UGC is concerned with the standards of education, the decision of the State Government regarding non-conduct of final exams in a situation of a national health crisis like the present COVID-19 pandemic cannot in the remotest manner be considered as an impediment on the powers of UGC to maintain standards of education.

It further states 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.”

The Union further highlights that as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016 makes it clear that the power to take decisions regarding the conduct of examinations and conferring degrees rests upon the respective State Universities and not upon the UGC.

As per the Disaster Management Act, 2005, not only the State Government, but even the State Disaster Management Authority constituted under section 14 and/or the State Executive Committee constituted under Section 20 of the Act of 2005 are legally competent to take a decision in this behalf.

The Union further submits that the power to take decisions regarding conduct of examinations and conferring of degrees rests with the respective State Universities, and as such the UGC does not have the authority to grant/withold degrees of students, when the State Governments and Vice Chancellors of Universities have after considering all the exigencies of the current situation made a unanimous decision to confer degrees without holding the final year examinations.

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ, had on August 10, 2020, sought a reply on whether the Disaster Management Act can override the UGC’s guidelines and posted the matter for further hearing on August 14, 2020.

Maharashtra, in it’s affidavit, has mentioned that after deliberating on the issue at length, the State Disaster Management Authority constituted under the  Disaster Management Act, 2005 took the decision of not holding the last year final semester examinations for both professional and non-professional courses.

NCT of Delhi has submitted that the Deputy Chief Minister/Higher and Technical Education Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online/offline semester examinations including final year examinationsUniversities have also been advised to devise alternative assessment measures to promote students of intermediary semesters and grant degrees to students of final semesters.

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.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: After the States of Maharashtra and NCT of Delhi submitted before the Court that they have cancelled the final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the University Grants Commission (UGC) told the Court that the students can’t get a degree if the exams are not conducted.

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ sought a reply on whether the Disaster Management Act can override the UGC’s guidelines and posted the matter for further hearing on August 14, 2020.

Maharashtra, in it’s affidavit, has mentioned that after deliberating on the issue at length, the State Disaster Management Authority constituted under the  Disaster Management Act, 2005 took the decision of not holding the last year final semester examinations for both professional and non-professional courses.

NCT of Delhi has submitted that the Deputy Chief Minister/Higher and Technical Education Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online/offline semester examinations including final year examinations. Universities have also been advised to devise alternative assessment measures to promote students of intermediary semesters and grant degrees to students of final semesters.

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.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Hot Off The PressNews

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.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: Dr. Dhanraj R. Mane, Director of Higher Education has filed the affidavit on behalf of the State of Maharashtra in the plea challenging the conduct of final year exams amidst COVID-19 crisis the Court directed that the decision of the State Disaster Management Committee dated June 19, 2020 be brought on record.

The affidavit clarifies that that the decision of the State Disaster Management Committee dated June 19, 2020 does not exist as the State of Maharashtra has constituted the State Disaster Management Authority and not Committee as the Disaster Management Act, 2005 does not contemplate constitution of a Committee. The Act contemplates constitution of an Advisory Committee by the Authority.

On the request of the Higher and Technical Education Department, the Authority convened a meeting on June 18, 2020 to decide the issue regarding holding of examinations across the State and after deliberating on the issue at length, took the decision of not holding the last year final semester examinations for both professional and non-professional courses. Hence, in compliance of the said decision, the Maharashtra Government issued resolution dated June 19, 2020.

In view of UGC’s revised Guidelines dated July 6, 2020, another meeting was convened on July 13, 2020 and after considering the alarming COVID-19 situation in the entire State, imposition of lockdown, college buildings being used as isolation centres, etc, it was decided that it was not possible to hold examinations in the State and the decision dated June 18, 2020 was affirmed. The affidavit, hence, states that the Authorities decision dated July 13, 2020 must be taken into consideration.

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.


ALSO READ


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

The Union Cabinet has given its ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up a Major Port at Vadhavan near Dahanu in Maharashtra.

The total cost of the project is likely to be Rs 65,544.54 crore.

Vadhavan port will be developed on “landlord model”. ASpecial Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) as the lead partner with equity participation equal to or more than 50% to implement the project. The SPV will develop the port infrastructure including reclamation, construction of breakwater, besides establishing connectivity to the hinterland. All the business activities would be undertaken under PPP mode by private developers.

The position of JN Port, the biggest container port in India is 28th in the world with a traffic of 5.1 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units). Even after the completion of the 4th terminal at JN Port with a capacity increase upto 10 million TEUs by 2023, it will stand as the 17thlargest container port in the world. With the development of Vadhavan port, India will break into the countries with the top 10 container ports in the world.

Maharashtra has India’s largest container port at JNPT which caters to the hinterland of Maharashtra, North Karnataka, Telangana and secondary hinterland of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, NCR, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. There is a need for a deep draft port that will accommodate the largest Container Ships in the world and also cater to the spillover traffic from JNPT port once its planned capacity of 10 million TEUs is fully utilized. JNPT and Mundra, the two largest container handling ports of the country (for mid-size container ships only), have drafts of 15 M and 16 M respectively, while the world’s largest container-handling modern deep draft ports require a draft of 18M-20M. The Vadhavan port has a natural draft of about 20 meters close to the shore, making it possible for it to handle bigger vessels at the port. Development of Vadhavan port will enable call of container vessels of 16,000-25,000 TEUs capacity, giving advantages of economies of scale & reducing logistics cost.

The ever increasing size of container ships makes it imperative that a deep-draft container port on West Coast of India is developed. Increasing containerization of cargo in the wake of the value-added manufacturing sector makes it important to prepare our port infrastructure for handling value-added import and export to facilitate manufacturing activity. Container traffic in the JNPT hinterland is expected to grow from 4.5 MTEUs currently to 10.1 MTEUs by 2022-25 when JNPT’s potential will be fully exhausted. The demand for container traffic will further accelerate after the plans for improving logistic infrastructure fructify and the ‘Make in India’ push drives greater exports and manufacture sourcing to India.


Cabinet

[Press Release dt. 05-02-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The bench of Dr. AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ set aside certain provisions of Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016 imposing restrictions on the licensing and functioning of dance bars in Maharashtra but partly upheld the validity of the Act.

The Court quashed some of the provisions like mandatory installation of CCTVs and a partition between bar rooms and the dance floor; showering of currency notes on the dancers and the provision mandating that dance bars in Maharashtra should be one kilometre away from religious places and educational institutions.

The Court, though set aside a provision that ensured a monthly salary for the artists, it held that there has to be a written contract between bar dancers and their employers. It also approved the timing of 6 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. for dance bars in Mumbai.

(Source: PTI)

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission: NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that the Government of Maharashtra in the State Assembly has informed that 639 farmers committed suicide in the State between March and May, 2018. The reported reasons were crop failure, debt and inability to repay bank loans.

The Commission has issued notices to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture and the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra calling for the detailed reports in the matter, specifically mentioning the status of implementation of the schemes for the farmers and relief to the aggrieved families. The response is expected within four weeks. The Union Government is expected to inform the Commission, if they have any specific plan or mechanism in their mind to effectively address the situation.

The Commission has observed that it is not for the first time that such news has come to its notice. It has been receiving complaints regarding the deaths of farmers across the country, including the State of Maharashtra. It has also taken suo motu cognizance of such matters. Committing suicide by the farmers in such a large number is a serious matter as it involves the right to life of the victims. Their families also come under tremendous pressure due to sudden demise of an earning member.

It has further observed that in spite of announcement of several schemes including crop insurance and loan waiver by the Central and State Governments, the forlorn story of poor farmers generally remains the same. The farmers are still choosing to end their lives, understandably, if not being able to cope up with the stress, financial crunch and social stigma due to crop failure. There is a need for the Central and State Governments to see that the schemes announced by them are implemented in true spirit, to achieve the target so that such tragic deaths of the farmers could be averted.

According to the media report, carried on 15th July, 2018, a total 639 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra between March 1 and May 31, 2018. The information had been provided by the State Revenue Minister in the State Assembly in response to the questions of the opposition members. They had, reportedly, alleged that all the schemes of the government, including the loan waiver, compensation to farmers in case of loss of crops and minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural goods, had failed, due to which the cases of suicide by the farmers have increased.

The news reports further say that as claimed by the opposition, in the last four years, as many as 13,000 farmers had ended life, of which 1500 committed suicide in the last one year alone. The Revenue Minister had reportedly stated that according to the parameters set by the State Government in October last year for declaration of drought, 8 talukas of Yavatmal, Washim and Jalgaon Districts were declared affected by medium intensity drought in April this year and the compensation along with other assistance has been provided to the affected farmers, accordingly.

It is further mentioned that on 29th May, 2018, the Union Government made amendments in the rules for declaration of drought-hit areas, based on the suggestions made by the states and accordingly the state revenue and forest departments have made the changes on 28.6.2018. The Chief Minister of the State has reportedly stated that appropriate action will be taken to recover the mortgaged lands of the farmers from the respective lenders.

National Human Rights Commission