UGC responded to a PIL that questioned the state’s decision of June 19 to award more than 10 Lakh students and postgraduates from traditional and professional courses by giving average grades based on past performance or holding exams later.
In the affidavit of UGC by the education officer Dr. Nikhil Kumar of July 23 states that universities / institutions are required to take exams for the final semester / year by the end of September. The Maharashtra government’s decision contradicts the revised July 6 guidelines. It was “a matter that has a direct impact on higher education standards in the country” and “will be an encroachment on the legal area of coordinating and setting higher education standards that is reserved exclusively for Parliament”.
UGC said that by deciding under the Civil Protection Act, the state could not override the legal provisions of another special law (UGC law), which made it nugatory. Given the evolving situation of the pandemic, the revised UGC guidelines provided ample time until the end of September to conduct tests by following protocols and guidelines, as well as flexible modes for online, offline, and a mix of both tests. It provided for special examinations to be carried out, if possible, so that the students would not be bothered or disadvantaged. “UGC has issued such guidelines to protect the academic future of students across the country who will be irreparably damaged if there are no exams for the final year / final semester taking into account their health and safety.”
A bank led by Chief Judge Dipankar Datta will hear the PIL and requests for and against exams on July 31.