Mumbai: Standing its ground in the ongoing legal standoff between the Maharashtra government and the University Grants Commission (UGC), on the issue of holding final examinations, the UGC told the Bombay High Court on Friday that all universities must hold the final year exams. The apex education body also said that all universities across India are bound to abide by UGC guidelines and decisions. The UGC further told the court that if exams are not held, student's careers would suffer irreparable damage.
Dr Nikhil Kumar, education officer, UGC, New Delhi,filed an affidavit through advocate Rui Rodrigues before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar.
The bench is seized of a PIL filed through advocate Uday Warunjikar challenging the Maharashtra government's decision to confer degrees without holding the final exams.Referring to the report of the expert panel, constituted by the UGC, Kumar, in his affidavit, said, "The UGC has emphasized the need to conduct terminal or final examinations, which is a crucial step in the academic career of a student, be it in the form of course-ending terminal semester examination or final annual exams."
"Thus, all universities and institutions in the country are obligated to conduct terminal semester or final year examination by the end of September, 2020," the affidavit added.
In his affidavit, Kumar further stated that in case a student fails to appear for the final exams, the UGC has allowed that she or he would be given an opportunity to sit for special exams, which would be conducted by the institutions as and when feasible.
"This would ensure that the student is not put to any inconvenience or disadvantage. We have issued such guidelines to protect the academic future of students across the country which will be irreparably damaged if their final year or terminal semester exams are not held, while also keeping in mind their health and safety," the UGC said.
Opposing the state government's decision, the UGC said it would be an encroachment on the legislative domain, as "determining the standards of higher education is an area exclusively reserved for Parliament," the UGC said.
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