A PIL has been filed before the Gujarat High Court, challenging the action of various Universities conducting physical examination and admission process in the present situation of Covid-19.
"Adverse, arbitrary and unlawful decisions by authorities have put the student fraternity in serious dilemma and thereby anxiety and panic which has created a Havoc among student bodies and therefore the same needs to be considered as it not only affecting the students health but also posing a threat on their life and the life of public at large in the given health crisis of COVID-19 as the same can boost the spread of the deadly virus," the plea states.
The petition has been filed by practicing Advocates of the high court, Priyank Pandya and Harsh Patadia, alleging that Universities are planning to conduct examinations in conventional/ physical manner and are therefore acting contrary to the orders of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Petitioners have pointed out that no clarification on this subject has been given by the UGC since April 29, 2020, and due to such "inaction", various Universities have issued notifications/ orders/ circulars to conduct examinations in conventional/ physical manner or by alternative methods, based on their interpretation of the UGC Guidelines.
It is averred that the MHA guidelines clearly prohibit educational activities, except for Online Learning. However, the same is being overlooked by the UGC, in turn providing an opportunity to the Universities to "misinterpret" the guidelines.
The Petitioners have drawn the court's attention towards MHA guidelines dated May 30, 2020, vis-à-vis 'Unlock-1' whereby it has been stipulated that the decision as to re-opening of schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutes, etc., will be taken in Phase-II in consultation with the States, UTs, educational institutions, parents and other stakeholders, in July 2020.
It is further stated that if after such consultation, MHA is of the view that educational institutions need to be re-opened then the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will prepare a SOP for these institutions.
"Hence, no such institute can commence any educational activity except online learning before decision is taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs and a SOP is created in this regards by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)," the plea states.
The Petitioners have sought for a direction on the Respondents to take an expeditious decision on how to conduct the Examination and Admission of students in a uniform manner in the present situation, and to formulate an SOP for the institutes.
In the interregnum, they have sought for an interim stay order, restricting the Universities from proceeding with examinations/ admission process.
The petition has been filed through Advocate Mohammed K. Vohra.
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