Today, the Supreme Court stated that bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan in the next two days will be dealing with the plea(s) dated July 6 challenging UGC Guidelines whereby all the Universities/ Colleges have been instructed to conduct final year Examinations by September 30, 2020.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta‘s submission was taken note of by the bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao & Hemant Gupta that a similar plea filed by the Yuva Sena on July 18 has been dismissed by the bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan.
Advocate Dhruv Mehta highlighted the final year law student Yash Dubey’s plea which also sought cancellation of UGC mandated final year exams before the bench.
Permission to conduct exams by Universities and Institutions vide notification dated July 6, 2020 was expressed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to compulsorily conduct examination of final year students as per UGC guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure.
Mention of another petition seeking a similar prayer, filed by a Law Student quashing the Notification and revised guidelines respectively, calling for compulsory conduction of Final Term Examinations amid the pandemic situation was also done by the Senior Advocate Dhruv Mehta.
A Covid positive student as the petitioners, pointed out that there are many final year students, who themselves or their family members are COVID positive.
Submissions to Cancel Exams
“Forcing such students to appear in the final year University Examination on 30.09.2020, is flagrantly violative of their Right to Life, as enshrined within Article 21 of Constitution of India.”
UGC in furtherance of the aforementioned notification issued revised guidelines for University examination for terminal semester students whereby it instructed Universities to conduct exams in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (offline + online) mode.
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Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, explained that usually marksheets/ degrees are awarded to the students by 31st of July. So, if the examinations will be wrapped up by September 30, then how will the students get their degree.
“Due to such belated award of marksheets/ degrees, the Petitioners herein and many other final year students will be deprived of precious opportunities of getting admission in higher courses and/or getting jobs, which will be again violative of Article 14.”The Plea
Submissions were also made that final year students should also be placed at par with the students of CBSE, ICSE, ISC, NIOS, etc. that canceled their 10th/ 12th Board Examinations due to COVID-19 pandemic and declared results on the basis of “past performance/ internal assessment” of students.
Direction to the UGC to complete internal assessment and award final results/ degrees to the successful final year students, on or before July 31, 2020 was sought.
The Petitioners’ Grievances in writing exam during Covid
Respondents in utterly arbitrary and whimsical manner had taken the decision to conduct final year examination without consulting other stakeholders, like Doctors, Teachers, Students, Universities and Colleges etc. and thus the entire genesis of the said Decision, is erroneous and misplaced.
The Respondents ignored the plight of lakhs of students belonging to Bihar, Assam, and the North Eastern States, which are presently witnessing incessant flood and misery.
A student, who has to travel to his / her Examination Centre through public Transport, will have to face immense difficulty in a situation where there is no free movement of Railways and only a selected number of Trains are operating.
As Landlords are unwilling to give accommodation nowadays, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Lot of difficulties could be seen in getting rented/ PG accommodations across India.
Parents of the affected students are facing utmost financial distress due to reduced financial opportunities amid COVID-19 crisis. In such a situation, further burdening them with the cost of Transportation, Accommodation and Medical Treatment of their wards, for appearing in the captioned examination, is utterly unjust, unfair and unwarranted.
In same lines, the Bombay High Court issued notices in a PIL filed by a law student seeking cancellation of final year examinations during the ongoing pandemic of Covid-19 to the State of Maharashtra, University Grants Commission and Bar Council of India.