The Maharashtra Government has informed the Supreme Court that the State Disaster Management Authority has taken the 'conscious decision' of not holding final year examinations of both professional and non-professional courses in the state after assessing all the pros and cons in the matter.
"The authority took into consideration various aspects such as the prevailing alarming COVID-19 situation in the entire state, lockdown imposed by various municipal bodies, declared containment zones, college buildings being used as isolation centres and the view was put forth by the majority of vice-chancellors of universities that it is not possible to conduct the examinations in the state," the affidavit filed on behalf of the Government states.
The affidavit has been filed in compliance with an order of the Top Court's order dated July 31, 2020, asking the Maharashtra Government to place on record notification dated June 18, 2020 issued by the State Disaster Management Authority, intimating that all final year/semester examinations in Maharashtra stand cancelled and students shall be passed on the basis of their previous years'/semesters' marks.
The Court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the UGC direction to hold final year exams by September 30.
The Maharashtra Government has informed the Top Court, through Advocate Sachin Patel, that in view of the UGC guidelines dated July 6, 2020 for mandatorily conducting final year examinations, the SDMA had reconvened a meeting on July 13 to reconsider its order.
However, after "deliberating the issue at length" the Authority reiterated and confirmed its earlier decision of not holding the examinations.
The government has also clarified that there is no such body as the 'State Disaster Management Committee'. Rather, it is the State Disaster Management Authority, established in terms of Section 14 of the Disaster Management Act 2005.
Significantly, UGC had filed its affidavit on July 30, claiming that the direction to hold final year examinations by September 30 was issued to "protect the academic future of students". It further stated that conducting examinations for final year students is necessary to test them on "specialized elective courses" studied by them during the terminal year.
Certain final year students have also expressed dismay at the SDMA's decision barring exams and they have approached the Top Court claiming that the SDMA order has been issued without any authority in law as any order in relation to examinations is within the exclusive domain of the UGC.
The top court is scheduled to hear the matter on August 10.
Click Here To Download Affidavit