Acceptance given by SC for UGC guidelines against petition

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Acceptance given by SC for UGC guidelines against petition
Acceptance given by SC for UGC guidelines against petition

The Supreme Court has accepted the petition filed by 31 students opposed to the revamped guidelines on final-year exams by the University Grants Commission(UGC). A bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the UGC to submit its reply within three days. The next hearing is scheduled on Friday, July 31.

Currently, the UGC Guidelines have taken a decision on final year exams mandatory for all institutes. Final year University exams, as per the UGC guidelines, are to be conducted by September-end in online, offline, or a blended mode.

According to a report by the Press Trust of India, several issues have been elevated in the petition. Itincludes with the plight of lakhs of students in places like Bihar and Assam which are reeling under floods. Moreover, many states have already revoked the final year examinations of state universities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students, since the announcement of the revised guidelines, have been talking over that the conduct of final year examination by September-end invites serious health risks and demanding that the exams be revoked

The petitioners have also demanded that the final year examinations be revoked and results be calculated on the basis of past performances.

“Now when the COVID-19 crisis has worsened to a dangerous level, the respondent UGC has decided to conduct all examinations across India, in an utterly arbitrary manner,” the appeal said.

“Thus, now, this year, due to such belated award of mark sheets or degrees, the petitioners herein and many other final year students will be deprived from precious opportunities of getting admission in higher courses and/or getting jobs, which will be again violative of Article 14 (equality before law),” the appeal by students said.

“Thus, now, this year, due to such belated award of mark sheets or degrees, the petitioners herein and many other final year students will be deprived from precious opportunities of getting admission in higher courses and/or getting jobs, which will be again violative of Article 14 (equality before law),” the appeal by students said.

The appeal further inculated that different boards, including the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) had previously revoked remaining exams and evaluated students on the basis of past performances.

The current statement of UGC guidelines have exempted intermediate students from appearing in exam and said that they will be evaluated on the basis of internal assessment and previous semester marks.

“On one hand…UGC has exempted the students of intermediate semester from appearing in the examinations.whereas, on the other hand forcing the final year students to appear in the examinations, which is utterly discriminatory, having no reasonable nexus with the object sought to be achieved i.e. the safety of students and hence patently violative of Article 14,” the appeal has purported.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, however, told the bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, that they are only concerned with final year exams and out of over 800 universities in the country, 209 have completed the examinations. Mehta stated that around 390 universities are planning to conduct examinations in August or September, in online, offline, or blended mode.

Responding to criticism by the stakeholders, Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ had precociously said that examinations are a “reflection of their (students’) ability, performance, and reliability that is essential for global acceptance”.

Concerned about the health and safety of students amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Maharashtra and different states had precociously decided to scrap final year university exams and evaluate students on the basis of alternative methods.

UGC, however, in response to an affidavit at  Bombay High Court finally stated that the State government has no mighty to revoke university exams.

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