Only UGC can cancel exams, SC told

Degrees invalid if no exams held UGC

Degrees won't be recognised if no exams are held: UGC tells SC

The hearing has been adjourned to Friday after the UGC asked for time to respond to affidavits filed by Delhi and Maharashtra which have cancelled exams despite UGC guidelines.

The Delhi government stated in its affidavit that on July 11, a decision was taken that all online-offline exams of universities under the state, which include final year exams, would be cancelled in the backdrop of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Tushar Mehta said that the UGC would file its response on the affidavits filed by Maharashtra and Delhi in the matter. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan that states can not change the rules of the University Grants Commission (UGC) as only it is empowered to prescribe rules for conferring degree.

Mehta said that it was not in the interest of students to not have exams.

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Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, representing the students in the apex court on Monday, sought to question the legality and constitutional validity of the 6 July guidelines and not the conduct of the exams itself, Bar and Bench reported. The Delhi government in an affidavit informed the court that classes in all eight universities in the national capital were completely disrupted due to Covid-19 and the option of conducting online examination was mulled but was found unsuitable because many students were unable to access the internet.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the University Grants Commission (UGC), on Sunday told the Supreme Court that the UGC is the only body that can prescribe rules for conferring a degree and that states cannot change the rules.

While states such as Maharashtra and Delhi have officially opposed the UGC decree and have cancelled the final year examinations in the respective state universities, the UGC has, in turn, contested that the final year examinations are mandatory as the degree can not be allotted without proper assessment.

On July 31, the SC had refused to pass any interim order while hearing a batch of petitions seeking cancellation of final year/semester examinations in September. The case will next be heard on August 14.

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The UGC, in turn, justified that its decision directing all universities and institutions to hold final year or semester examinations in September was done to protect the academic future of students across the country.

Petitioners contended the July 6 UGC guidelines for holding final-year examinations were illegal. He added that 35 universities have not reached final year exams.

The UGC had earlier told the court that nobody should remain under the impression that since the Supreme Court is examining this issue, the final year or semester examination would be stayed.

In their plea, the student wrote that the results of final year students should be evaluated based on internal assessment or past performances as conducting exams amid the pandemic had severe constraints and risk factors.

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