Desists from commenting directly on the correctness of decision taken by the T.N. government
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has desisted from offering any direct comment on the correctness or otherwise of a decision taken by the State government to cancel arrear examinations of all arts, science, engineering, and Master of Computer Application students except for those pursuing final year during the current academic year.
In a counter-affidavit filed before the Madras High Court in response to a case by former Anna University vice-chancellor E. Balagurusamy, the UGC stated that it had insisted upon all universities in the country to complete final year or terminal semester examinations alone before September 30 and that the Supreme Court too had ruled in favor of its decision.
The counter, served on the former V-C’s counsel E. Vijay Anand, read that the UGC had come up with the first set of guidelines on April 29 to deal with a situation that had arisen due to COVID-19. Those guidelines permitted universities to conduct terminal/intermediate semester/year-end examinations through online or offline mode after following all social distancing norms and reducing the duration from three to two hours, if necessary.
Subsequently, on June 7, the Commission issued revised guidelines instructing all universities to complete the final year or terminal semester examinations by September 30. The guidelines were challenged before the Supreme Court on several grounds. One of the grounds was that they discriminated between final year students and others.
However, the apex court rejected the contention by stating that there was a rationale behind the decision since the academic evaluation of final year students was a very important milestone in any education system and it was a reflection of the competence, performance, and credibility that was essential for global acceptability.
The Supreme Court also ruled that State governments or universities could not decide to evaluate final year or terminal semester students through internal marks without holding examinations as instructed by UGC. They were however given liberty to seek an extension of time beyond September 30 if the examinations could not be conducted before that due to COVID-19.
In view of the aforementioned submissions and orders passed by the honorable Supreme Court, we humbly pray that this honorable court may be pleased to pass appropriate orders and thus render justice,” the counter affidavit filed by UGC Under-Secretary Umakant Baluni read.