The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the University Grants Commission to not release the academic calendar for this year till September 24, so that students appearing for compartment examinations can apply to universities, Bar and Bench reported. The compartment exams began on Tuesday and will end on September 29.

A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna cited the exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and instructed the University Grants Commission to work in tandem with the Central Board of Secondary Education, and coordinate on the date of declaration of results and the cut-off dates for admission.

Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for the students, contended that if admissions to colleges are over by the time the results are announced, the students taking the compartment exams would lose out on the opportunity to get admitted for this academic year.

“The compartment exam are today [Tuesday] and they finish on September 29,” Tankha told the court. “If we give the exams but we can’t get the admissions in colleges, there will be no point... They [the UGC] should accommodate us in the academic calendar.”

Tankha added: “I want my Lord’s empathy. Create some room for them to get admission. This is their first attempt. It is not their second or third attempt.”

The top court accepted that this was indeed a “peculiar situation” and asked the UGC to accommodate the students. “This is an exceptional year and you have to make some room,” the court observed. “[The] academic career of two lakh students cannot be hampered. If CBSE declares results by end of October, then you can wrap up admissions by first week of November.”

But advocate Kurup, appearing for the UGC, argued that the academic calendar for this year was already finalised and had to be declared on Monday. The UGC further stated that based on the calender fixed by it, admissions would conclude by the end of October.

However, the court directed the UGC to pause releasing the academic calendar until it informs the court by when it would declare the compartment exam results. The top court gave the regulatory body time till Thursday to file their response.

“Don’t release the academic calendar till Thursday,” the bench observed. “Let CBSE inform us and then you both coordinate... You need to work in tandem with CBSE.”

On September 4, a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna had directed the CBSE to inform the court by September 7, about the scheme of the examination and the way it is to be conducted amid the pandemic.