The Union home ministry has said that it would allow university exams in the "academic interest" of students and issued a notification to the University Grants Commission, the regulatory body for university-level exams. The decision was taken after requests by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the directions of the National Disaster Management Authority, it told the Supreme Court today. The UGC had asked universities across the country to conduct the examinations for final year by September 30.
"Permission has been given to UGC to conduct exams. The decision has been taken in the academic interests of large number of students. Pursuant to Human Resources Ministry request, directions have been issued under NDMA to conduct exams," the ministry told the court.
In response to a petition from students, seeking cancellation of exams in view of the coronavirus pandemic and floods in various parts of the country, the UGC has categorically said it would not cancel the examinations. The top exam body also said Delhi and Maharashtra cannot cancel the exams and will have to abide by its guidelines. Any such step, the UGC said, would impact the future of the students.
A group of 31 students from several states -- including Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh -- have challenged the UGC guidelines, demanding that final year students be promoted on basis of their past performance.
Different states, including Maharashtra and Delhi, had earlier decided to cancel final year university exams. The UGC, however, told the Supreme Court that states have no power to cancel university exams.
In its exam guidelines, the UGC has permitted universities to promote intermediate semester students on basis of internal assessment and past performance. The guidelines, however, said exams will be mandatory for final year students, be it conducted online, offline, or a mix of both.