University Grants Commission (UGC) expressed in the Supreme Court yesterday that states do not have the authority to cancel the university exams, however, they can request for an extension in the September 30 deadline. The Supreme Court reserved its judgement on the UGC final year exam guidelines and has asked all the parties to file written submissions within 3 days.
SC was hearing a set of pleas challenging the UGC guidelines which had mandated that all the universities should conduct the final year exams before September 30. Several states had challenged these guidelines stating that conducting exams amid COVID-19 pandemic situation is not possible.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who was representing UGC in the Court said that the Commission does not have the luxury to confer degrees without an exam and thus the final year exam is compulsory. He, however, conceded that states do have the option to request for an extension in the September 30 deadline.
Senior Counsel Arvind Datar who argued against the guidelines said the Commission did not consult any ministers or VCs from Maharashtra. He also said that the issue here is about the welfare of the students.
Justice Bhushan while commenting on the issue said that the welfare of the students cannot be left with the students but authorities can take decisions for their welfare.
Manish Sisodia, representing the Delhi government, filed an affidavit that there is a class divide when it comes to conducting online exams and not everyone has equal access to books and study material. He also said that the issue is related to health which states have control over.
Senior Advocate Vinay Navare arguing for the UGC guidelines said that states have not been given rights on university exams. Universities can still ask the deadline to be pushed but not to cancel the exam. He also said that UGC has the authority to confer degrees and thus students cannot demand cancellation of the exams and ask UGC to confer degrees.