The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a circular issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on July 6 mandating the final term exams in all universities, but also allowed the States to approach the education body for deferment of exams in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, while disposing of a batch of pleas against the UGC circular, said that the states must hold exams to promote students but added that they can postpone the exams in view of pandemic under the Disaster Management Act.
The bench said that the States and Union Territories cannot promote final year students without examination and asked them to approach the UGC to seek postponement of the exams in the light of COVID-19 pandemic situation.
This means it is not mandatory for the States and Union Territories to adhere to the UGC circular dated July 6 for holding final term exams by September 30 and that they can fix dates beyond September 30 in consultation with the UGC for holding final term exams.
The apex court had reserved its judgement on August 18 and had said it will also decide whether the States will have power under the Disaster Management Act to defer final examination till situation normalises.
The University Grant Commission, through an affidavit, had earlier submitted that the decision of Delhi and Maharashtra government of cancelling the final term examination directly will “directly impact the standards of higher education in the country”.
The UGC has filed an affidavit on Delhi and Maharashtra governments’ stand of not conducting the final term University exams said that the UGC has taken the policy decision to conduct final year/ terminal semester examinations in the interest of students across the country after duly considering the prevailing situation of a pandemic.
A batch of pleas was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the UGC’s July 6 circular and seeking cancellation of final term examination in view of COVID-19 situation.