Additional exams to be conducted for students who can’t appear for it in July: Kerala University tells HC

KOCHI: The Kerala University on Tuesday informed the Kerala High Court that it has taken a decision to conduct additional examinations for candidates who cannot appear for the examinations scheduled from July 1 due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“Such exams will be treated as special examinations and no additional fee will be collected for the same. Also, the special examination will not be treated as a supplementary examination and will have the legal status of an ordinary examination,” the Kerala University submitted.

In the light of such submissions, a single bench of Justice CS Dias turned down the pleas seeking directions to stay the Kerala University exams scheduled to be held from July 1.

However, the court also directed the Vice-Chancellor of the varsity to take a decision by today itself on the representations filed by the petitioner students.

“As the scope of judicial review in the scheduling of the examination is very limited, and the fact that the students who are willing to appear and write the examination have not been impleaded at least in their representative capacity and since the examinations are to commence from July 1, 2020, and further for the elaborate arrangements and reasons pleaded by the university in the statements filed before this court, I decline to pass an ad-interim order to stay the examinations,” the bench said in its order.

Citing the precedence of the Supreme Court, the High Court said that the courts should not substitute the wisdom of specialists in the field of academics. The court was considering two writ petitions – one filed by 23 PG students and the other filed by a sixth-semester law student of the law academy.

Appearing for the PG students, senior advocate George Poonthottam, submitted that the scheduling of the exams, without the requisite number of teaching days, is arbitrary.

“As per the UGC regulations, there has to be a minimum of 90 teaching days; but the semester had only 29 days due to suspension of classes since March 9 on account of COVID-19,” Poonthottam said adding that the study materials of the students are left in the hostels, many of which have been converted into quarantine centres.

Advocate E Adithyan, appearing for the law student, submitted that the students are stranded in different parts of the country due to the lockdown including containment zones and hotspots.

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