The Supreme Court (SC) on July 31 adjourned the matter pertaining to the plea against the University Grants Commission (UGC) decision on mandatorily conducting final year examinations till August 10.
UGC had asked all universities to conduct examinations in offline, online or blended mode by September end.
During the hearing today, the apex court asked UGC to file make the stand of the home affairs ministry (MHA) clear. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for UGC said that the body will file its reply by August 3.
"Nobody should be under the impression that students cannot prepare for the examination," said SG Tushar Mehta.
In today's hearing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for final year student Yash Dubey explained how there have been almost 1.6 million Coronavirus cases in India.
Singhvi also said that the optional examination system will be problematic since there will be a chaos if someone students are unable to appear in the examinations.
"Heavens will not fall if exams are cancelled," said Singhvi.
The three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that the views of the state disaster management committee of Maharashtra will also have be required to file a reply.
In June, the Maharashtra government had cited the decision of the state disaster management authority to cancel examinations for all final-year students. However, this was soon superseded by the UGC decision in July to make it compulsory to give examinations.
On July 30, UGC had informed the SC that if students are unable to appear for the examinations by September 30, he/she will be given an opportunity to appear at specially conducted exam at a later date.
However, the 31 lead petitioners in the SC case refused to accept this reply and said that the UGC's response does not take into consideration the hassles faced by students if exams keep getting postponed. The petitioners had also said that job prospects and future admission opportunities for students will be hampered.
On July 27, hearing the petition by a slew of petitioners including 31 university students as well as individual ones like that of Yuva Sena, SC asked Tushar Mehta if he wanted time to seek instructions from the UGC on this matter.
On July 7, UGC said that the end-term examination for all final-year students would have to be mandatorily held by the end of September 2020 in offline (pen & paper), online or blended mode. This was opposed by several state governments like that of Maharashtra, West Bengal as also by final-year university students.SG Tushar Mehta said in the July 27 hearing that out of 818 universities in India, 209 have already competed the examinations while 394 are in the process of completing the examinations. He added that 35 universities have not reached final year exams.