New Delhi: The Supreme Court today reserved its order in a batch of petitions challenging the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) notification directing Universities to conduct final year exams.
The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash R. Reddy and M.R. Shah has directed all the parties to submit their written submissions within 3 days.
The order has been reserved on the question whether states can take decisions against UGC rules and whether there should be final examination for degree students across the country or not. The bench will also decide whether the states have power under the Disaster Management Act to defer final examination till situation becomes normal.
Senior Advocate Arvind Datar argued before the bench that even a central university like the IIT has said they will give a degree without holding exam. “If a premier institution can do this, there must be some reason for it,” he argued.
Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora, on the other hand, pointed out the difficulties that will be faced by students due to lack of infrastructural and technical facilities in conducting exams.
Advocate Alakh Alok Shrivastava argued that the Kuhad committee recommendations cannot be implemented across the country since there were no proper consultations.
However, advocate PS Narasimha, appearing for UGC, submitted that students who want to go for higher education will be seriously affected if the final exam is not held.
“UGC is trying to balance life and pandemic. Cannot just give up on life. Courts are holding e hearings. Government is functioning,” said Narsimha.
He further submitted that the states cannot put Disaster Management Act against UGC Act and say exams cannot happen. UGC is the authority to determine the standard of education. Whether exams are held or not is under their authority.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the UGC Act derives its power from Entry 66 of List 1 in Schedule 7 and the guidelines of UGC have statutory mandatory force.
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He further submitted that the Universities can seek for the deadline to be pushed. However, they cannot take the decision to confer degrees without holding exams.
– India Legal Bureau