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[Students vs UGC] Impossible To Hold Exams In Bengal; UGC Hasn't Taken Into Account Ground Realities: Jaideep Gupta Tells SC

Radhika Roy
18 Aug 2020 7:40 AM GMT
[Students vs UGC] Impossible To Hold Exams In Bengal; UGC Hasnt Taken Into Account Ground Realities: Jaideep Gupta Tells SC
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To insist for examinations for the final semester alone while exempting other semesters from such requirement is unreasonable and discriminatory, submitted Jaideep Gupta, Senior Advocate, in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

He was representing a group of teachers from West Bengal in a plea challenging the July 6 directive of the University Grants Commission to hold final semester exams by September 30.

"It (requiring only final semesters to exams) is not a reasonable proposition because every semester is important and average of semesters is important. They are placing a higher weight on the last semester. To insist for an examination for the last semester is not reasonable because there is no difference between the last semester and the second semester or any other semester", he submitted.

Gupta then submitted the special conditions existing in the State of West Bengal made the conduct of exams impossible.

"These are special circumstances which affect West Bengal. Metro is not working, local trains are not working. Question of holding exams does not arise. Cannot be done !

There is also the Cyclone Amphan which has led to many institutions being turned into shelters. Physical exams in this situation is just not possible !", he affirmed.

"The UGC has not taken into account the ground realities. They have not taken into account the accessibility of students. West Bengal will not be able to hold online exams because students don't have the technology to give the exams", he continued.

"What they're asking us to do is impossible. In the process, many students will be left out1", he said.

He also reiterated the submissions made by Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate who appeared for Maharashtra, earlier that the UGC took the decision unilaterally without consulting universities as mandated by Section 12 of the UGC Act.

Next, Advocate General for West Bengal, Kishore Datta, submitted that different States cannot be treated on the same platter as every State has certain peculiarities. Further, UGC has not taken into account these differences. 

 "UGC cannot consider this to be a normal circumstance. They have proceeded on the basis as if this is 2019 or 2018. These are exceptional circumstances. They are not concerned with public health.

GC has not consulted with the State. The State is working on the ground level and know how the situation is. It is the duty of the State to ensure public health.

There are dual aspects. There are education and public health. UGC has not informed the Court about what they're doing about public health", the Advocate General submitted. 

The neighbouring state of Odisha has also told the Supreme Court that it is not possible to implement the UGC directive to hold final term exams by September 30.

The hearing is progressing before a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah. Live updates from the ongoing hearing may be read here.

Update at 14.10 hours : The SC has concluded the hearing and has reserved judgment.

Also Read : [Students vs UGC] UGC Cannot Compel That Exams Be Held; Can Only Lay Down Standards: Datar For Maharashtra In SC


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