The Supreme Court on Friday said states cannot promote students without conducting final year examinations, reported Bar and Bench. However, the bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, allowed the states to approach the University Grants Commission for an extension to its September 30 deadline for conducting final year exams.

The court was hearing a clutch of petitions against the University Grants Commission’s directive to all the institutions to conduct final year exams before September 30. Several states had filed pleas against the UGC guidelines stating that the Covid-19 crisis makes the situation not conducive to conduct the exams.

During a hearing on August 18, the court had reserved its judgement on the case after hearing West Bengal, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Delhi make a case for postponement or cancellation of the exam.

UGC and Centre argued that conducting the exam is in the best interest of the students and the Commission does not have the luxury to confer degrees without conducting an exam. UGC did concede that states can request for an extension of the September 30 deadline.

States argued that the Covid-19 situation makes it difficult to organise exams and is not taking into account the welfare of the students. They also said that UGC has the authority to ask universities to conduct exams but cannot keep a deadline for the same. States added that health comes under the purview of the state and they also have the right to make decisions based on Disaster Management Authority.

The court had asked all parties to file written submissions within three days. It had reserved its judgement.