Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 28
Students can't be promoted without holding final-year examinations by September 30 as fixed by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
However, a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said if a state felt it could not conduct examinations by September 30, it must approach the UGC for new dates to hold the examinations.
For any exemptions from the UGC guidelines, states will have to seek permission from the Commission, said the Bench which had earlier refused to stay the UGC's July 6 circular on the issue.
Holding that a State Disaster Management Authority can postpone final-year examinations under the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), the Bench said fresh dates had to be worked out in consultation with the UGC.
Apart from some students, Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the Shiv Sena, and governments of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Delhi had questioned the UGC’s July 6 circular asking universities to conduct final-year examinations by September 30. These states maintained that students could be promoted without examination in view of the extraordinary situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On behalf of the UGC, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had argued that universities could seek extension of the deadline but they could not take a decision to confer degrees without holding examinations.
The UGC, which regulates higher education in India, had refused to relent on the September 30 deadline for conducting final-year examinations of universities and colleges, saying the decision was taken “after due deliberation by taking into account and balancing all relevant factors”.
The July 6 guidelines were based on recommendations of experts, it had said, adding that it was wrong to claim that it would not be possible to conduct the final-year examinations in terms of the guidelines, the UGC had said.
It had said the decisions of some states to cancel examinations directly affected standards of higher education and was an encroachment on the legislative field of coordinating and determining the standards of higher education exclusively reserved for Parliament under Schedule VII of the Constitution.
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