Degrees won't be recognised if no exams are held: UGC tells SC

Ruben Fields
August 11, 2020

He said, "When UGC is the only body to confer degrees, how can states cancel exams and expect UGC to confer degrees?"

As Mehta said UGC would like to respond to the affidavits filed by Delhi and Maharashtra, the Bench posted the petitions challenging the UGCs directive to conduct university examinations by September 30 for further hearing on August 14.

The Delhi government soon followed suit and informed the court that allsate universities examinations including final year exams stand cancelled due to covid.

He said that the UGC would file its response on the affidavits filed by Maharashtra and Delhi in the matter. The bench also asked the UGC to address the question of whether the Disaster Management Act would override its notification on guidelines for exams.

On the last date of hearing, the Solicitor General had made it clear that students should prepare themselves for the final-year examinations.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UGC, told the judges that both Delhi and Maharashtra government have chose to cancel the exams.

Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, appearing for some of the petitioners, claimed that the July 6 guidelines for holding exams are neither legal or constitutionally valid. He asked the top court for time to file a reply to Delhi and Maharashtra governments' affidavits, wherein they said that they had made a decision to cancel the exams in the state universities.

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While states such as Maharashtra and Delhi have officially opposed the UGC decree and have cancelled the final year examinations in the respective state universities, the UGC has, in turn, contested that the final year examinations are mandatory as the degree can not be allotted without proper assessment.

On July 27, SG Mehta had informed the SC that out of 818 universities in India, 209 have already competed the examinations while 394 are in the process of completing the examinations.

However, the affidavit cited some vice-chancellors of certain universities in favour of wrapping up at least the final semester exams, but the Delhi government chose to stick to its decision of not holding the exams.

On July 31, the SC had refused to pass any interim order while hearing a batch of petitions seeking cancellation of final year/semester examinations in September.

Delhi deputy chief minister has directed "all Delhi State Universities to cancel all written online and offline semester examinations including final year exams".

In a 50-page affidavit, the commission said that decision to conduct the exams 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".

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