NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today resumed its plea hearing in the July 6 circular of the University Grants Commission (UGC), which has ordered final exams to be conducted by the end of September.
Supreme Court hearing on appeal to cancel final term test: Recent updates
1.07 pm: Senior advocate Vinay Navare makes their submissions by stating that the decision taken by the UGC is in the four corners of its power. It does not exceed its power.
1.06 pm: Senior advocate PS Narasimha begins his submission by highlighting the importance of the final year exam in assessing a student’s ability to pursue higher education or foreign education. “I do not think that the guidelines laid down by the UGC violate health issues as Viswanathan said. We must move forward,” he said.
1.00 pm: Kishore Lambat, the lawyer representing the mediator, makes his submissions and highlights that there are parents who have lost their jobs and that the students are facing difficulties.
12.54 pm: Attorney Alok Alok Srivastava begins his submission. They say these tests have a direct impact on the health of millions of students and should therefore be consulted with health professionals.
Noon 50: Meenakshi Arora, a senior lawyer representing the applicant, begins his submissions. “Some students can give exams now, some can’t. The rest of the students then miss out on opportunities and jobs,” argues Aurora.
12.38 pm: “There will be more and more poor people, the downtrodden and those who have no access to technology. Unless you decide to give them all the tablets,” says Viswanathan.
12.35 pm: “The strongest argument for SG here is that the last few circulars are guidelines. But they cannot be mandatory,” says Vishwanathan.
12.30 pm: Submissions begin by senior lawyer KV Vishwanathan representing the Delhi government. She says not all students have access to books and study materials. It also has its handicap online.
12.29 pm: “The UGC Guidelines say all health-related guidelines must be followed. You cannot say that they have not considered public health.
12.26 pm: Advocate General Kishore Dutta, representing West Bengal, submitted that the UGC did not take into account the exceptional situation in view of Kovid-19 and made decisions as of 2019 or 2018. “They (UGC) don’t care about public health,” Dutta says.
12:20 pm: Gupta says “effective consultation” was not conducted “as required by UGC.” “If they had even consulted 1 person for each state, they would have understood the difficulty,” he said.
12.17pm: “We have said this before. If it is allowed, all universities can evolve their own methods,” says Justice Bhushan.
12.14 pm: Senior advocate representing the West Bengal Teachers’ Association, Jaideep Gupta, launches their submissions. “My submission is that the July 6 UGC Guidelines are not a statutory document. It is not mandatory to conduct tests by September 30,” says Gupta.
12.11 pm: “Kovid-19 cases are at their peak in Odisha!
12.08 pm: The Advocate General of Odisha begins his submissions, stating that his arguments are on their way to Datar. “In the current situation of COVID-19, conventional testing cannot be performed. In this context, our submission is that the test is the culmination of 6 semesters,” he said.
12.03 pm: Attorney Datar concludes his submissions by filing the Maharashtra Test Act to make a legal proposal. “It is a delegated legislation and a state legislation. It states that a state has complete autonomy. Statutory provision exceeds the guidelines. There is no abhorrence,” he says.
11.55 am: Referring to the UGC’s April Circular, Datar says how can we now conduct tests when the cases are 15,000 and we can’t run tests. “Then when the UGC calls your own course a chart, how can they make it mandatory now,” says Datar.
11.40 am: Justice Bhushan has said that the argument that UGC is being discriminated against will be raised if different states have different dates.
11.39 am: “How can the UGC say that Kerala, Maharashtra and Odisha should conduct final examinations by September 30? This is a total violation of Article 14,” says Datar.
11.34 am: “UGC directs all universities to hold it at any cost by September 30, completely violates its authority”
11.33am: “My first submission is that there is nothing arbitrary in the decision-making university against the UGC. If IIT can do that, others can too,” says Datar.
11.15 am: “We are not affiliated with IIT,” says Justice Bhushan.
11.13 am: Datar argues, “If a central institute of international repute like IIT offers degrees without conducting final exams, why can’t we?”
11.10am: “Does not conducting tests alone cause weakening of standards?” Justice BR Gawai asks.
11.09am: Justice Shah asks, “But UGC is not conducting exams here. It’s up to the universities. You can’t say that UGC conducts exams.”
11.03am: “The UGC can set standards, but cannot force them to run tests,” says Datar.
10.58 am: I come to the practical difficulties of running the tests. Please come to the counter submitted by the UGC on July 30. Datar says I will quote the general compilation and my written submissions. The tribunal is reviewing the submissions.
10.53 am: Senior advocate Arvind Datar starts filing for Maharashtra State. He says the state has been greatly affected (because of the Kovid-19 epidemic).
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Last week, Justice Ashok Bhushan’s bench adjourned the hearing, arguing over the Kovid-19 situation and requesting the cancellation of the final term test.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the students’ appeal, highlighted the seriousness of the situation and said India is the world’s third largest number of COVID positive cases, with about 900 deaths a day and 50-60,000 new cases coming in every day.
Singhvi said the MHA had shut everything down for five months. “There is a direct link between teaching and taking exams. How can there be teaching without exams!” He added.
Senior lawyers argued that education is not special here; The epidemic is special here. “The epidemic applies to everyone and everything,” he said. Singhvi, the UGC Circular, has said that the Commission has been set up to conduct exams by September 30, when it says ‘Forman’.
Singhvi argued that even a first-year student should be able to say this is not a federal one. “This special situation is extra-ordinary. The epidemic is state-neutral, politically color-neutral, people-neutral,” he said.
Senior advocate Shyam Diwan, appearing on behalf of another petitioner, told the tribunal whether the UGC could publish its guidelines if the lockout was taking place. He said if he couldn’t do it at the time, he can’t do it now.
“According to Maharashtra notifications, the number of cases is reported to be alarmingly high. There are colleges in some states which have taken the quarantine facility,” Diwan said.
The Central Government’s June 29, 2020 Phase Resumption Guidelines (Unlock 2) do not allow schools, colleges and training institutions to be opened and online distance learning will be encouraged and these restrictions will continue until the end of August.
Diwan pointed out that the UGC cannot say that the lives of students in uniform class and 3rd year students are less than the lives of 1st year or 2nd year students.
“Teachers and invigilators are also a homogeneous class. Their health and their lives are important. It doesn’t matter what class or what semester you teach. Many students live with their families. With their grandparents and their parents. Please take some care of them, ”he said.
The UGC filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Thursday, stating that the Delhi and Maharashtra government’s decision to directly cancel the final term test “will directly affect the country’s higher education standards.”
An affidavit has been filed at the request of a group challenging the UGC’s July 6 circular and requesting the cancellation of the final term test, focusing on the COVID-19 situation.
Earlier, the Delhi and Maharashtra governments had informed the apex court that they had canceled the test in the central region and the state respectively.