By Line: Vinayak Heliwal
Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing of pleas until 18th august challenging UGC guidelines today that mandate final year examinations by September end amid the COVID -19 pandemic.
The apex court was hearing pleas filed by multiple groups of students, including Yuva Sena and a group of 31 students from across the country who filed petitions challenging the Universal Grants Commission (UGC) of mandatory holding final year exams for college and university students. During the previous hearing, the UGC had questioned the decision of Maharashtra and Bengal governments to cancel the final year exam stating it against the rules.
The UGC matter came up before a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan today. The UGC has explained the bench about the importance of final exam in the academic career of a student and the guidelines issued by them are flexible and sufficient for universities to conduct final year examinations.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing UGC told the bench that States cannot change the rules of UGC, not conducting exams will not suit the interest of students and degrees may not be recognized if the states act unilaterally.
Meanwhile, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastav appearing for petitioners argued that UGC guidelines for holding exams are neither legal nor constitutionally valid. Senior Counsel Shyam Divan who is representing Yuva Sena argues that when exams could not be permitted in April due to the Covid-19 pandemic then how exams can be allowed to hold now with the cases rising continuously in lakhs. Divan also raised the issue of transportation as most of the students have migrated to their hometown due to the pandemic so it won’t be possible for them to return immediately for giving final year exams. Concluding his arguments he highlighted the anxiety which students are facing over the uncertainty around exams.
Supreme Court will now continue hearing the matter on Tuesday, 18th August