UGC latest news: The Supreme Court is set to continue the hearing of the petitions challenging the University Grants Commission (UGC) latest guidelines regarding final year University exams. 31 students had filed a plea at the Supreme Court against the decision of the UGC that has made it mandatory for universities and colleges to conduct exams by September 30th, 2020.
Although clarity was expected from the hearing on August 10, the SC adjourned to August 14 after the UGC asked for time to respond to the affidavits filed by Delhi and Maharashtra. Both states have decided to cancel exams due to the rising Covid 19 cases
Here are the key highlights of the ongoing case
- No intention to change decision- In the last hearing on July 31st, the UGC maintained that it has no intention of changing its decision and has advised that students continue their preparation for the final year exams.
- Protecting academic future- The UGC also said that decision was taken to ‘protect the academic future of students across the country which will be irreparably damaged if their final year/terminal semester examinations are not held, while also keeping in mind their health and safety.’
- Not in the interest of students to not hold exams- In the hearing on August 10, according to a report by IANS, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Monday said in the court that it’s not in the interest of students to not hold exams. He argued that UGC is the only body that can prescribe rules for conferring a degree, and state governments cannot change the rules.
- Degrees won’t be recognised- In the hearing the UGC has also said that degrees would not be recognised if no examinations are held for final-year students.
- Decision by states contradictory– The UGC on August 12, submitted its response to the Supreme Court opposing the decision taken by Maharashtra and Delhi governments to not conduct final year exams in colleges and universities. While the Maharashtra government had informed the Supreme Court on August 7 about the State Disaster Management Authority’s decision to not conduct the final exams in the state. Delhi government had also informed the top court that Delhi State University exams have been cancelled. In its reply, the UGC called the decision contradictory as the states are talking about cancelling exams while the process of admissions for the new academic session is impending. Bar and Bench in its report stated the UGC’s response.
“Needless to say, those alleged circumstances should then prevent even the commencement of the next academic session. That apart, the State Govt. avers that the next academic session must begin in the interest of students, while, at the same time, contending that the final examinations should be cancelled and degrees can be awarded without such examinations even though such a step would irreparably damage the future of students. Such contentions by the State Govt. are clearly therefore meritless”, reads the reply.
- More voices against UGC- Final-year engineering undergraduates at the Bangalore Institute of Technology have also submitted a plea in the Karnataka High Court challenging the UGC guidelines. Similarly, a report by Pune Mirror says that Maharashtra Federation of University & College Teachers Organizations (MFUCTO) which is part of Savitribai Phule Pune University has also filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court against the UGC guidelines and its mandatory nature. The plea filed by MFUCTO supports an earlier petition filed by Shiv Sena’s youth wing Yuva Sena.