The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the UGC, on a batch of pleas challenging its guidelines, making completion of final year university exams mandatory by September 30. The matter will next be heard on July 31. The petitions were heard by a three-judge bench of the top court, comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah. The plea was filed by 31 students across several universities in India. The students, in their petition, had challenged the UGC guidelines for being arbitrary as it would compel students to appear for exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
UGC Guidelines hearing in Supreme Court: HIGHLIGHTS
01:56 PM: Supreme Court issues notice to University Grants Commission on a batch of pleas challenging its guidelines making completion of final year university exams mandatory by September 30
01:49 PM: Matter to be heard again on July 31
01:48 PM: Senior Adv Shyam Divan says, "SG will submit reply by Wednesday. We need permission to file rejoinder by Thursday evening."
01:47 PM: Advocate Dhruv Mehta for Yash Dubey says, "An order was passed in the Amit Bathla case (CBSE matter). That can be looked into."
01:45 PM: Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava says, "Today 50,000 covid19 cases have been registered. There needs to be a stay on these guidelines till the matter is pending."
01:43 PM: SG says, "We had given options like online exam, offline exam or merger of both. There are MHRD and MHA guidelines which state not more than 10 students in one room with social distancing."
01:42 PM: SG says, "We are only concerned with final year exams. There are 818 universities in India and out of this 35 have not reached final year exams. 209 have completed the exams, 394 are in the process of conducting the exams. We need an affidavit."
01:41 PM: Justice Bhushan asks SG Tushar Mehta if more time is required to seek instructions, to which Sinhhvi asks to list the matter at the earliest
01:39 PM: States have been given no discretion. This is done without any law or act. The guidelines are unrealistic and harsh. Many states have objected to this. Maharashtra, West Bengal have strongly objected, says Singhvi
01:38 PM: Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi argues for Yash Dubey, says "We are challenging July 7 notification for UGC which mandates final year exams in universities by Sept 30. This is unrealistic and remarkable amid COVID19. UGC earlier wanted to take a look at COVID and changed guidelines."
Earlier on July 7, the UGC had said the end-term examination for all final-year students would have to be mandatorily held by the end of September 2020, in offline or online mode.
Under a new UGC directive, in case a student is not able to appear for examinations, he/she would be given an opportunity to appear for a special examination by the institution at a later date.
The UGC had also warned against violating the orders and had stated that not accepting the decision would risk the future of students.
Now, petitioners like Yuva Sena have demanded the UGC to allow individual state governments to pass the final year students based on the candidate’s past performance.
The UGC should not mandate conducting the exams amid the COVID-19 health crisis, the petitioners have demanded.
UGC’s decision to hold examinations has been taken after consultation with the Ministry of Human Resource Development.