Bengal weighing options to hold final-year university exams in Oct, Maharashtra says final call after meeting with VCs
Upholding the UGC decision to hold final year exams, the SC said on Friday that if any state feels they can't conduct exams by 30 September, they must approach the UGC for new dates
With the Supreme Court upholding the UGC decision to conduct final year exams, the West Bengal govt said that it is weighing options to conduct the exams, while Maharashtra said it will take a final call after consultations with vice-chancellors of universities.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that her government was weighing the pros and cons of holding final-year college and university exams before Durga Puja in October.
"I have told our education minister to look into the possibility of conducting the final-year exams in universities and colleges before Durga Puja in October. The options of both online and offline exams should be looked into.
"We are not against any exam; we are just saying that a pandemic is on, and it could put lives of students at risk," Banerjee said while addressing a virtual rally of Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP).
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court said that states and universities cannot promote students without holding final year exams by 30 September.
Upholding the University Grants Commission decision to hold final year exams, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said if any state feels they can't conduct exams by that date amid the coronavirus pandemic, they must approach the UGC for new dates to hold the exam.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra higher and technical education minister Uday Samant on Friday said the state government respects the Supreme Court verdict in the UGC matter and will decide about holding examinations after consultations with vice-chancellors of universities.
Speaking to reporters here, Samant said, "The state government respects the verdict of the Supreme Court. I will discuss the issue with vice-chancellors of universities and take further decision."
"We will study the verdict in detail and then take appropriate actions," he added.
"The SC has relaxed UGC guidelines of conducting all exams before 30 September. We will discuss the issue with Disaster Management Committee," he said.
Samant said health of students remains top priority in view of the pandemic.
"We need to give priority to students' health as well. In the current situation, students should not catch any infection if exams are conducted," he said.
The Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the Shiv Sena — which heads the government in Maharashtra — is one of the petitioners in the SC and has questioned the UGC's directive to hold examinations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The UGC had earlier said the 6 July guidelines are based on recommendations of experts and have been made after due deliberation and it is wrong to claim that it will not be possible to conduct the final examinations in terms of the guidelines.
Even as the SC uphold the UGC decision to hold final year exams, ministers of six opposition-ruled states, including West Bengal and Maharashtra, moved the Supreme Court on Friday seeking review of the top court's another order permitting the Centre to conduct NEET and JEE entrance exams this year, amid the pandemic.
Criticising the Centre over its decision to hold JEE- NEET exams in September, Banerjee said, "We asked the Union government to defer the process due to the pandemic. But the Union government is adamant... It is busy issuing sermons instead of listening to Mann ki Baat of students."
With inputs from PTI
A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman had given an ultimatum to the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday to either "reconsider" its decision or the court will pass orders.
The apex court's direction came after the state government told the bench that it has decided to hold a symbolic Kanwar Yatra with appropriate COVID restrictions
The petition claims that the appointment of the panel was made in violation of Article 77, which states that every executive action or order of the Central government has to be taken or issued in the name of the President, and hence unconstitutional and illegal