UGC says final year exams cannot be cancelled, SC reserves verdict

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved judgement on whether the final year degree examinations in universities should be held before September 30, in accordance with University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines.

The top court will also decide whether state governments have the power to take a decision against conducting final year examinations under the Disaster Management Act.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan has reserved the judgement on a batch of PILs along with some state governments – Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Delhi – questioning the UGC direction to universities to conduct final year exams before September 30. The state governments have argued that they have the power to promote students without exams in the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UGC, contended before the top court that final year is the degree year and exams cannot be done away with. Mehta also cited examples of exams being conducted by some universities and added that many top-level universities have opted for online exams. Mehta insisted that foreign universities and further education require degrees.

Citing the UGC guidelines, Mehta contended before the bench that these guidelines are not merely for preaching and that they are mandatory. The guidelines which have been challenged before the top court have a statutory mandate, added Mehta.

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