Supreme Court asked Centre to respond to affidavits filed by the States of Maharashtra and Delhi, reports The states have challenged the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on July 6 for universities to conduct the final year exam before September 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court asked the Centre to respond if states can override the guidelines issued by the UGC based on Disaster Management Authority. The Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UGC, sought time to respond on the matter. The matter was adjourned til August 14, adds the report.

The UGC questioned how can the states cancel the exams if UGC is empowered to confer degrees to the students. The states responded that the decision was based on direction of the State Disaster Management Authority.

UGC reiterated that the students should continue preparing for the exam regardless of the pendency of the case, adds the report. The Commission had made similar statements in the last hearing when it was responding on the hearing.

The UGC in its reply filed last week had said that the final year exams are compulsory and need to be conducted before September 30 deadline. It had also said that students who are not able to participate in the exams will be given another chance to appear for the exam at an appropriate time.

SC bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah was hearing a bunch of petition asking the court to to direct UGC to reconsider its directions. One of the petitions has been filed by 31 students from different states and universities. A separate petition has been filed Yuva Sena led by Aditya Thackeray, Yash Dubey, and others, adds the report.

Several states including Maharashtra, Delhi, Odisha, Punjab and Haryana have cancelled the university exams and have decided to grade the students based on past performance and internal assessment.