The bench consisting of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice M R Shah of the Supreme Court of India has adjourned the petitions filed against the directive of University Grants Commission challenging conducting the final year examinations by September 30th.
The matter was adjourned as Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta sought time for responding to the affidavits filed by Maharashtra and Delhi High Courts. The main point raised by the Solicitor General was with regard to the authority of the States to cancel the examinations as the degrees are issued by UGC. Further, the relevance of the Disaster Management Act and directions of UGC and whether the former overrides the latter was put forward by the Court.
The direction issued by the University Grants Commission stated that it is essential to conduct final year examinations in order to protect the future of the students.
Both the Maharashtra government and Delhi government has informed the Supreme Court that taking into account the present situation, the examinations of final years for both professional and non-professional courses have been cancelled. Further, the government has directed the Universities to formulate alternative assessment measures.
In the counter-affidavit filed by the UGC, it has been stated that the decision of conducting examinations before September 30th was taken after considering the opinion of experts and that the scope of administrative decisions prevail over judicial reviews.
The petitioners contended that instead of conducting the final semester examinations, the aggregate of previous semesters can be awarded to the students which in turn will help the students to secure jobs and foreign education. Further, it was stated that the internet is not accessible to all the students and will deprive the students to get a fair opportunity to appear before the examinations.