New Delhi, August 28: The Supreme Court Friday held that no state or university can promote students in the final year without holding exams as per the guidelines of University Grants Commission (UGC).
The top court also said that the decision taken by SDMA or state not to hold final year and terminal semester examination by September 30, in exercise of power under Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 shall prevail over the deadline fixed by the UGC. Also Read | NEET-JEE Exams 2020 Row: Mamata Banerjee Dares PM Narendra Modi to Take Impromptu Opinion of Students During 'Mann ki Baat'.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah said that if any state/union territory has taken a decision that it is not possible to conduct the final year /terminal semester exams by September 30, 2020, then they can make application to UGC to reschedule the date.
“The decision of the State/State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) to promote the students in the final year/terminal semester on the basis of previous performance and internal assessment being beyond the jurisdiction of Disaster Management Act, 2005 has to give way to the guidelines of UGC dated July 6, directing to hold examination of final year/terminal semester”, the bench said. Also Read | H Vasanthakumar Dies: Congress MP From Kanyakumari Succumbs to COVID-19.
“The State and University cannot promote the students in the final year/terminal semester without holding final year/terminal examination,” it said. According to the petitioners, several states like Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have decided to cancel the examinations and promote the students on the basis of previous performances.
The bench in its 160-page verdict said, “We, thus, conclude that the State or the SDMA have no jurisdiction under DM Act, 2005 to take a decision for promoting the students on the basis of previous performance or internal assessment which decision being contrary to revised guidelines of the UGC cannot be upheld and has to give way to the guidelines of UGC which is the Authority to issue guidelines for determination and maintenance of standards of education and teaching of the Universities”.
The bench added, if any State/Union Territory in exercise of jurisdiction under DM Act, has taken a decision that it is not possible to conduct the final year/ terminal semester examination by September 30, then “we grant liberty to such State/Union Territory to make an application to the UGC for extending deadline of September 30, for that State/ Union Territory which shall be considered by UGC and rescheduled date be communicated to such State/Union Territory at the earliest”.
The bench said that the differentiation made in the revised UGC guidelines of July 6 to hold final or terminal semester examination and to give option for earlier years/ intermediate semester for not holding the examination has a rational basis.
“The differentiation has nexus with the object to be achieved. We, thus, reject the challenge to the revised Guidelines on the ground that there is any discrimination between the students of final year/ terminal semester and those of intermediate and first year”, it said.
It added that the revised Guidelines also cannot be termed to violate Article 14 of the Constitution on the ground that one date that is September 30, 2020 has been fixed irrespective of the conditions prevailing in individual States and saying, “the date for completion of examination was fixed throughout the country to maintain uniformity in the academic calendar”.
The bench disposed of a batch of petitions filed by students, private organisations and Shiv Sena's youth wing ‘Yuva Sena' challenging the UGC's July 6 directive to the universities to hold final year examination by September 30.
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