The Bombay High Court on Friday declined the prayer for stay on examinations proposed to be held on August 17 and August 25 by the Maharashtra University of Health Science, Nashik (MUHS) for the students of Bachelor In Dental Surgery and Masters In Dental Surgery observing that cancellation of such exams behind the back of those examinees who are willing to physically appear for writing the exam will be detrimental to their interest.
Division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice SP Tavade were hearing a writ petition filed by Akash Udaysing Rajput and other such students.
Petitioner's counsel Advocate Kuldeep Nikam submitted that because of the prevailing pandemic caused by Covid-19 and the grim situation in Maharashtra, it would be practically impossible for the examinees to write the examinations physically; however, if online examination is conducted, all the petitioners are willing to participate in such examination, Nikam said praying for stay on the proposed exams.
Appearing on behalf of the University, Advocate RV Govilkar, referred to matters being heard by the Supreme Court wherein the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission are under challenge, and submitted that there is no stay operating in the field in regard to conduct of examinations. Next, he contended that the pandemic notwithstanding, earnest endeavours have been made by the University to conduct the examinations for the post-graduate students and the under-graduate students of the final year maintaining the norms of social distancing.
Moreover, he also submitted that staying the examinations altogether would work out prejudice to the University, which has made all arrangements for smooth conduct of the examinations, as well as other students who are willing to write the examinations, physically.
After hearing counsels for both parties, the bench observed-
"Having heard learned advocates for the parties, we do not consider it proper to grant interim relief at this stage by staying the examinations scheduled on 17th and 25th August, 2020. There could be examinees, other than the petitioners, who might be willing and prepared to write the examinations, even physically. Stay of the examinations behind the back of such examinees would be detrimental to their interests. On the other hand, allowing the examinations to be conducted without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the petitioners and subject to the result of this writ petition would sufficiently protect their interests."
Thus, the prayer for stay was declined and the Court said that the University shall be at liberty to conduct the examinations scheduled on 17th and 25th August, 2020 by strictly adhering to social distancing norms and other protocol to prevent the contagion.
Any examinee willing to write the examination physically shall be at liberty to do so. This would also include any of the petitioners. However, if any petitioner does not seek to write the examination physically and sets up a strong case at the final hearing of the writ petition for a direction on the University to hold separate examination for him, it shall be open to the Court to make such directions as would be necessary for the ends of justice, the bench clarified before adjourning the matter.
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