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SC asks UGC to respond on pleas against direction to conduct final yr exam by Sept 30

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to respond to the petitions which have challenged the July 6 directive to all the universities and colleges to conduct final year examinations by September 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several issues have been raised in the petitions, including plight of lakhs of students in places like Bihar and Assam which are reeling under floods and also that many states have already cancelled the final year examinations of state universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that replies be filed by UGC and the Centre on the pleas and posted the matter for hearing on July 31.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, that they are only concerned with final year exams and out of over 800 universities in the country, 209 have completed the examinations.

Mehta said that around 390 universities are in the process of conducting the examinations.

Referring to the guidelines issued by the authorities, he said students can appear in the examinations online, offline or mixture of both.

The bench said a consolidated reply be filed on the batch of petitions, including the one filed by Shiv Sena's youth wing 'YuvaSena', and posted it for hearing on July 31.

The counsel appearing for one of the petitioners told the bench that several states have raised objections over conducting exams amid the pandemic.

One of the petitions, filed by 31 final year students, has sought quashing of the July 6 directive by which all the universities or colleges across India have been asked to conduct final year examinations by September 30.

"It is respectfully submitted that the same UGC had earlier postponed the university examinations scheduled in July, 2020, due to COVID-19 outbreak. However, shockingly, now when the COVID-19 crisis has worsened to a dangerous level, the respondent UGC has decided to conduct all examinations across India, in an utterly arbitrary manner, said the plea, filed through advocate AlakhAlok Srivastava.

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