The University Grants Commission has rebutted the concerns raised by the Odisha Government over conducting of final year examinations amid the pandemic.
The Commission through Advocate Apoorv Kurup, has stated that the concerns raised by the State Government in its counter affidavit are entirely "unfounded" as the Commission has "more than adequately addressed" the need for conducting final (timed) examinations.
UGC Directive To Hold Final Year Exams 'Not Implementable': Odisha Govt Tells SC
The Odisha Government had argued that even if the final year examination is conducted, its "sanctity" will be greatly compromised and that examinations should not be conducted "just for the sake of conducting it".
Responding to this, the UGC has submitted that all the universities / institutions have been given ample flexibility to conduct such examinations by various modes and means as long as the sanctity and quality of the examination process is not compromised.
In this backdrop, it is contended that the UGC has taken a "policy decision" to conduct exams, "backed by statute" and which is "in the interest of students". Therefore, the State Governments cannot be permitted to cancel the final year examinations or to graduate the students on the basis of an alternative evaluation scheme.
The matter is listed for hearing today at 11 AM, before the bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, alongside a batch of similar petitions.
The State Government had also prayed that it should be allowed to implement the letter dated June 18, 2020, addressed by the Higher Education Department of the state to the Vice Chancellors and Principals of all concerned State Universities and Colleges, for adoption of an "alternative evaluation method" in respect of UG and PG Final Year/ Final Semester, 2020 students.
The UGC has contended that the letter dated June 18, 2020 is violative of the UGC Guidelines, and would impact the standards of higher education which UGC alone is mandated to maintain under the UGC Act.
Other grounds, as taken by the UGC in its previous affidavit, include:
During the last hearing Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Shyam Divan had addressed the Court. Their arguments, on behalf of the Petitioners, may be read here:
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