Students’ union, five others challenge UGC-Centre exam diktat
Mumbai: A students’ union and five final year law students have petitioned the Bombay High Court challenging guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development and University Grants Commission making it compulsory for all universities to conduct final year exams before September 30.
The petitions, filed by Maharashtra Students Union and final year law students Avirup Mandal, Onkar Wable, Swapnil Dhage, Tejas Mane and Surbhi Agarwal, have sought cancellation of final year exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
They sought to intervene in a petition filed by a retired professor, Dhananjay Kulkarni, challenging the Maharashtra government”s decision to cancel final year exams of both professional and non-professional courses.
The final year law students, in their petition filed through advocate Yashodeep Deshmukh, argued Maharashtra has a high number of COVID-19 cases and, hence, in such a situation it would not be feasible to hold exams and put lives of students in danger.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai on Friday allowed the intervening applications of the students” union and the five students and posted all petitions for hearing on July 31.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni reiterated the Maharashtra government”s stand that, given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, final year exams cannot be held keeping in mind the safety of students and everyone else involved.
“The government has said no exams shall be held for non-professional courses. In the case of professional courses, the state government had recommended no exams to be held and had appealed for the same to be cancelled to the apex bodies,” Kumbhakoni told the court.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for Universities Grants Commission (UGC), sought time to file an affidavit in response to all the petitions.
Advocate Uday Warunjikar, appearing for the petitioner Kulkarni, who has opposed cancellation of exams, also sought time to respond to the affidavit filed by the state government.