UGC Exam Guidelines 2020: Supreme Court Verdict On Final-Year Exams Today

The Supreme Court of India will give its final verdict on UGC guidelines today, August 28, putting an end to anxiety of lakhs of students. The court will pronounce the final order or judgment in the UGC matter at 10:30 am, the lawyer representing the 31 students who moved the supreme court against the UGC guidelines for examination 2020, said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, reserved its order on the UGC matter. It asked all the parties to present written submissions within three days.

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah heard the petitioners before reserving orders. The bench also heard Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Odisha before reserving orders.

The University Grants Commission’s July 6 guidelines made it mandatory for the universities to conduct final year examinations by September end, in online, offline, or blended format. It has also allowed the promotion of intermediate semester students on the basis of past performances.

The petitioners, on the other hand, have demanded that the final year students should also be evaluated using alternative methods as conducting exam is not feasible amid the ongoing pandemic and flood across the country.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had told the top court that its July 6 directive, asking universities and colleges to conduct final year exams by September 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is "not a diktat" but states cannot take decision to confer degrees without holding the examinations.

UGC had told the court that the directive is for the "benefit of students" as the universities have to start admissions to postgraduate courses and state authorities cannot override the UGC's guideline.

The top court had observed that the issue is if the state disaster management authority has decided that the situation is not conducive for holding exams, can they overrule the UGC.

The court had said that another issue is whether the commission can override state authorities and ask the universities to hold examinations on given dates.

The SC was earlier told by one of the petitioners that nobody is against the university examinations in "normal times" and the students are challenging the UGC’s decision because of the pandemic.

The UGC had said that final examination is a “crucial step” in the academic career of a student and the state government cannot say that its July 6 directive was “not binding”.

Yuva Sena, the youth wing of Shiv Sena, is one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court and has questioned the UGC's directive to hold examinations during the pandemic times.

The UGC had earlier said that the July 6 guidelines are based on recommendations of experts and have been made after due deliberation and it is wrong to claim that it will not be possible to conduct the final examinations in terms of the guidelines.

On August 10, the UGC had questioned the decisions of Delhi and Maharashtra governments to cancel final year exams of state universities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they were against the rules.

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