New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on 18 August, reserved its judgment on a batch of pleas challenging UGC guidelines directing colleges and universities to conduct final-year exams by 30 September.
The court also directed all counsels to submit their notes within three days.
A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising R. Subhas Reddy and M.R Shah asked the solicitor general S.G Mehta, who is representing the UGC, if the UGC can override the state and mandate for the exams to be held in case certain situations arise in the state. How can that happen? The Bench asked.
To that the solicitor general said, “The Universities can seek for the deadline to be pushed. However, they cannot take the decision to confer degrees without holding the exams.” He also said that under the Pandemic Act, the Central government does have the power to decide such matters.
The Supreme Court also heard submissions from P. Datar for the state of Maharashtra, Jaideep Gupta for teachers from West Bengal, K.V Vishwanath for the government of Delhi, and Meenakshi Arora and Alakh Alok.
Mr. Vishwanathan said students from poor families and with no access to technology will be the worst-hit. Advocate Alakh Alok said the health of the students should be kept in mind before conducting the exams. “These exams will directly affect the health of lakhs of students. Section 12 of the UGC guidelines require consultation with public health experts,” he added.
(Inputs from Live Law)