The Supreme Court of India on Friday in its judgment held that final year examinations for college/university students have to be carried out by September 30. However, the top court allowed states for deferment of exams beyond September 30 if they want because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Observing that the states cannot promote the students without taking the examinations, the court said that states can postpone the exams in the view of the pandemic under the Disaster Management Act and consult with the UGC to fix the subsequent dates.
“If states feel they cannot conduct exams by September 30, they can approach UGC for relief,” said the judges.
The decision came amidst protest from students and lately by political parties who have seemingly hacked the student’s protests against the examinations, in a bid to mount an attack against the Modi government.
Maharashtra, WB, Delhi and Odisha wanted the examinations to be cancelled
A number of petitions, including one by the Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, had called for the examination to be cancelled on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The pleas referred to the hardships faced by the students as universities and colleges remained shut due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. They contended that students have completed five semesters and had a Cumulative Grade Point Average or CGPA, which could be extrapolated for the final results without the actual examinations.
The stand was supported by four states and union territories-Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and Odisha, who urged the bench to cancel the examination in the wake of surging coronavirus cases in the country.
UGC argued holding examinations was in the best interests of the students
Earlier, the national education body University Grants Commission(UGC) had directed states to conduct examinations by September 30. The UGC had reasoned that the exams must be conducted to “protect the academic future of students” and argued that degrees can’t be granted without final examinations.
During hearings, the UGC had informed the top court that its directive dated July 6, asking universities and colleges to conduct final year examinations by Septemeber 30 was “not a diktat”. It had also said in the Supreme Court that the states cannot decide to confer degrees upon students without taking their final examinations. However, the states were permitted to extend the deadline for holding the exams, which the Supreme Court today agreed.