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[Breaking] UGC Guidelines To Conduct Final Exams Violative Of UGC Act & Regulations: Students Tells SC [Read Written Submissions]

17 Aug 2020 4:33 PM GMT
[Breaking] UGC Guidelines To Conduct Final Exams Violative Of UGC Act & Regulations: Students Tells SC [Read Written Submissions]
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The Petitioners in the PIL seeking cancellation of the UGC direction to hold final term exams have filed a written submission before the Supreme Court, contending that the same is violative of various provisions of the UGC Act and Regulations, apart from the Constitutional stipulations.

After hearing both the parties on Friday, the Supreme Court had adjourned the matter till Tuesday, i.e. August 18. Accordingly, the matter will be heard tomorrow.

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Violative of Section 12 of UGC Act

In the written submission filed through Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, the Petitioners have asserted that the impugned guidelines dated July 6, 2020, directing all the Universities to hold final year examinations by September 30 is violative of Section 12 of the UGC Act inasmuch as the UGC bypassed the statutory duty to formulate such Guidelines "In consultation with the Universities or other bodies concerned".

It is stated that despite the said mandate under Section 12, the UGC failed to "consult" with Universities or "Other Bodies".

It is submitted that the UGC purportedly relied upon the recommendations of the Kuhad Committee, however, this Committee "cannot be construed as either University or Other Bodies". It is pointed out that the Kuhad Committee did not consist of any health expert or epidemiologists, rather it comprised only of academicians alone and hence it did not qualify the statutory test of Section 12 of the UGC Act, in the present COVID-19 pandemic scenario.

Further it is submitted that Section 12 of the Act stipulates that UGC can only "Recommend" and "Advise" the Universities and it cannot "Enforce" its Guidelines formulated under Section 12. Hence, the compulsory nature of the Guidelines dated 06.07.2020 is further violative of the said Section 12 of the UGC Act.

Violative of Section 22 of UGC Act

Inter alia, the Petitioners have submitted that Section 22 (1) of the UGC Act provides that the "Right of conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by a University".

Thus, it is contended that the claim of UGC that it won't provide degrees to those students who don't appear in final year examination, is violative of S. 22 (1) of the UGC Act.

Violative of Regulation 6.3 of the UGC (Minimum Standards of Instruction for the Grant of the First Degree through Formal Education) Regulations, 2003

The Petitioners have submitted that Regulation 6.3 mandates that the nature of final examination, whether written or oral or both, in respect of each course, shall also be made known to the students "at the beginning of the academic session".

It is argued that the UGC cannot be permitted to make known the format of its final year examination on 06.07.2020 i.e. "after the academic session of the final year students ended".

Violative of Article 14 of the Constitution

The Petitioners argue that the UGC Guidelines are in derogation of the right to Equality conferred upon all individuals under Article 14 of the Constitution, on the following counts:

  • there is a sheer violation of fundamental right to equality of those students, who are unable to appear in these examinations due to COVID-19 crisis, as compared to those students, who are duly appearing in these exams;
  • students who passed their final year examinations last year, received their final marksheets/ degrees mostly by 31.07.2019. However, the students of this year may be getting the similar final marksheets/ degrees by the end of September or even later, which may deprive them from various job/ admission opportunities;
  • the impugned Guidelines discriminate between the final year students, who would be forced to appear in the upcoming examinations and the intermediate year students, who have been exempted from appearing in their exams.

Other grounds taken by the Petitioners include:

  • Violation of Right to Health and Right to Life of the Petitioners, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution;
  • "academic interest of few students" as claimed by the UGC, cannot outweigh the right to health and right to life of a larger section of students;
  • Impugned Guidelines are violative of Unlock-3 Guidelines issued by the MHA, which direct that all schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed till August 31, 2020.

Click Here To Download Written Submissions

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