Apex Court upholds UGC’s July 6 circular; No promotions without exams
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has upheld the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) July 6 circular directing Universities to conduct final year exams by Sept. 30. The UGC circular had mandated Universities to conduct the final term exams in all affiliated Universities by the end of September amid the Coronavirus contagion.
The Apex Court said this morning that States must hold exams by Sept. 30 to promote students, and if any States feel they can’t conduct exams, they must approach the UGC with their concerns.
Last week, the State Governments of Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and Odisha had urged the Top Court to direct the UGC to defer the final year examinations as the lives of lakhs of students could be jeopardised due to the pandemic.
A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah declared that no State Government can promote students without the final examinations. The Court said, the State Disaster Management Authority, however, can decide to postpone the examinations due to COVID-19 pandemic or other reasons after taking consent from the UGC. The Authority’s decision to pass students on the basis of previous years’ marks by the candidates would be beyond the scope of the law, the Court ruled.
The SC also maintained that States and Universities will have to hold exams to promote students and confer degrees, and that internal assessments will not suffice the requirements of the UGC. The Court said that there was no infirmity in the July 6 circular.
The Court’s judgement came on a batch of petitions filed by K. Praneeth, a Bengaluru resident and others, who questioned the validity of the UGC’s directions. One of the 31 petitioners, who has tested positive for COVID-19, had sought for directions to the UGC to adopt the CBSE model and conduct an examination at a later date for the students who are not satisfied with the marks awarded on the basis of the assessment.
The students, in their petition, said the exams should be cancelled and results of such students should either be calculated on the basis of their internal assessment or past performance.
NEET and JEE
Meanwhile, the Union Education Ministry stands by its decision to conduct JEE and NEET exams. Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has reiterated that the Government will hold the tests and said the decisions have been taken holistically keeping the careers of students in mind. The Ministry says a zero-year is not in the interest of students.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) is preparing to hold the two examinations in a few days from now. Over 25 lakh students are to take the tests — the medical entrance exam NEET and the engineering entrance exam JEE (mains). NTA officials are in touch with officials from other States as well.
The number of students who downloaded the admit cards is rising. Over 1.06 million students have downloaded the admit cards for the NEET exam so far. Around 1.6 million students are expected to take the test on Sept. 13. For JEE, over 0.75 million of the 0.858 million registered students have downloaded the admit cards. The Education Ministry considers this as the willingness of most students to take the exam.