Advocate Alak Alok Srivastava requested the top court to pass an interim order as many students are stuck in flood-affected regions in Bihar and Assam. “How will they travel my lord?” argued Srivastava. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the court is not passing any interim order now and posted the matter for further hearing on August 10.
The apex court also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, to make the MHA stand clear on the matter. Mehta replied it will be done by Monday. He insisted that students’ should not be under the impression that they do not have to prepare for the exams, instead they should prepare.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for final-year law student Yash Dubey, argued before the bench that there are 16 lakh cases of COVID-19 now, and the response by UGC has been filed without any application of mind. He asked the top court to examine the earlier guidelines and then look at the guidelines issued on July 6. “Heavens will not fall if exams are cancelled”, said Singhvi.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has told the Supreme Court that it is not possible to alter its July 6 guidelines mandating universities across India to conduct their final-year examinations by September-end.
The UGC informed the court that the expert committee, headed by Prof R.C. Kuhad, submitted a report recommending that terminal semester examinations should be conducted by universities/institutions by the end of September.
This report was deliberated and approved by the UGC in a meeting held on July 6. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had also permitted the schedule of exams by universities and institutions.
“It is submitted that the UGC has issued such guidelines to protect the academic future of students across the country which will be irreparably damaged if their final year/terminal examinations are not held, while also keeping in mind their health and safety,” said the academic regulator in its affidavit.