Supreme Court grants UGC time to respond to Maharashtra, Delhi affidavits; next hearing on Aug 14

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The Supreme Court on Monday granted time to the UGC to respond to the affidavits filed by Maharashtra and Delhi governments, in which they submitted they will not conduct the final term exams at state universities as per the circular.

Last week, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had asked Maharashtra and Delhi governments to place on record decision of state disaster management committee. The court had also asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to clear its stand.

The affidavit was filed on a batch of pleas challenging UGC’s July 6 circular and seeking cancellation of final term examination in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

SC begins hearing the plea challenging UGC guidelines: Highlights

* Supreme Court grants time to SG Mehta to file response to Affidavits filed by Maharashtra and Delhi. SG to also state if DM Act overrides notification by UGC. SC to hear the case on August 14.

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* SG Mehta seeks time to file a reply to the affidavits filed by Delhi and Maharashtra govt cancelling the exams, says SG can file reply by tomorrow.

* Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for University Grants Commission says it is the only body that can prescribe rules for conferring a degree, states cannot change rules and it is not in the interest of students to not have exams.

* Maharashtra government has informed the Supreme Court that the State Disaster Management Authority on July 13 had resolved to not conduct examinations in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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* Delhi Government had informed the court that it would not hold final year exams in state Universities.

* However, UGC has not budged from its initial stand and stated that exams needed to conducted by September 30.

Earlier, the top court had sought UGC’s response on the petition challenging its July 6 circular asking all universities to complete the final term examinations before September 30.

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Many students from different universities across the country, urged that the exams should be cancelled and the results of such students should be calculated on the basis of their internal assessment or past performance.

As per the UGC, universities were approached to inform the status of the conduct of examinations and responses received from 818 universities (121 deemed universities, 291 private universities, 51 central universities, and 355 state universities)
Out of the 818 universities, 603 have either conducted the examination or are planning to conduct. Meanwhile, 209 others have already conducted examination (on-line/off-line), 394 are planning to conduct examination (on-line/off-line/blended mode) in August or September.

The commission has also said that for 35 universities, of which 27 are private, seven state-run, and one deemed university, the first batch is yet to become eligible for the final exams.

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