States Can’t Confer Degrees Without Final-Yr Exams, Rules SC
During the last hearing, the Centre had said that varsities can postpone exams, but not issue degrees without exams.
The Supreme Court on Friday, 28 August, ruled that states cannot promote final year students without examination as ordered by University Grants Commission (UGC), while adding that they have the liberty to approach the UGC to seek postponement of the exams.
What did the Supreme Court say?
A three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy, and MR Shah said that although the decision of the State Disaster Management Authority to postpone exams amid the pandemic will overrule the UGC, the SDMA cannot take a decision on passing students without conducting final-year exams.
Simply put, states can approach the UGC to have exams postponed beyond September, but will hot have the power to confer degrees on the basis of internal assessment.
The apex court was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) that have asked for final-year university examinations to be conducted across the country by the end of September this year.
Who are the petitioners?
- Yuva Sena - The youth wing of Maharashtra powerhouse Shiv Sena has filed a petition on the directions of its leader Aditya Thackeray, challenging the guidelines of the UGC and requesting the apex court that each university be allowed to chart out its own plan of action with regard to terminal semester/final-year examinations depending on the conditions in their states.
- Students Across India - Around 30 students from across the country, including a COVID-19-positive student, have moved the Supreme Court asking that final-year students be considered at par with CBSE, ICSE & NIOS and that results be declared on the basis of internal assessment.
- Yash Dubey - A final-year law student in Bhopal, Dubey has argued that the revised UGC guidelines are in violation of the fundamental rights enshrined under Article 14 (Right to Equality) and Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) of the Constitution of India, they undermine the health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for the students.
What do revised UGC guidelines say?
According to revised UGC guidelines, final-year university examinations may be conducted by the end of September, either online, offline or through a combination of both.
The guidelines also say that in case a student is unable to write final-year exams, she can appear for a special examination at a later period, as and when feasible.
For students of the first and second semester, there have been no change in guidelines. This means that universities can evaluate students on the basis of internal assessment and marks scored in previous semesters, if they are unable to conduct exams due to the prevailing situation.
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