University Grants Commission (UGC) has submitted its answer to the Supreme Court on Thursday with regard to the petition filed by students to cancel the final year exams, reports The Commission in its response said that all universities have to adhere to the UGC guidelines and have to conduct the final year or final semester exams before September 30, adds the report.

The Supreme Court will hear on the matter today.

The Commission said that the decision by several states including Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab and Haryana to cancel the university exams and to grade the students based on past performance and internal assessment is contrary to the UGC guidelines. The UGC said that states’ decision to not conduct any exam “and confer degrees without appearing for the final year /terminal semester examinations is plainly contrary to the UGC guidelines”.

The response further said that the students who are not able to participate in the examination will be given another chance to appear for the exam when the pandemic situation is more under control, says

UGC in its guidelines issued on July 6 had said that the final year examination is not optional for universities and either offline or online exam or a mix of both has to conducted for grading students in the final year. The Commission had said that examination contributes to “merit, lifelong credibility, wider global acceptability for admissions, scholarships, awards, placements, and better future prospects”.

The petition to cancel the exam has been submitted by 31 students from different states and universities. The petition said that conducting the exams amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic situation is not safe for the students, and should be cancelled in the interest of justice for the students. The petition asks that the result should be calculated based on internal assessment and previous performance and the mark sheet should be issued before July 31.

Several states including Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana have used the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Act to cancel the university exams in the state. UGC in an affidavit filed at Bombay High Court had said the epidemic disease act cannot be used to negate the “statutory provisions of another special Act such as The University Grants Commissioner Act nugatory”.