Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed that the University Grants Commission (UGC) be made a party to a PIL challenging the Maharashtra government’s decision to issue degrees without holding final year exams.
Owing to coronavirus and lockdown, the government canceled final year examinations and decided to issue degrees on the basis of students’ performance in earlier semesters.
Dhananjay Kulkarni, a retired teacher and former university senate member from Pune, has filed a public interest litigation against the decision.
The PIL challenged the June 19, 2020 government resolution (GR). Under the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016, the Chancellor has the jurisdiction and the state has no power to take a decision about exams, Kulkarni said.
The UGC, on April 27, directed all the universities to conduct exams, but after a student organisation wrote to the state Minister of Higher and Technical Education, the exams in Maharashtra were postponed and later canceled, the PIL said.
As per the GR, there are 7,34,516 students enrolled in final years of non-professional courses and 2,83,937 students in final years of professional courses in Maharashtra.
The students who have cleared all previous semesters and do not want to appear for the last semester exam should give in writing that they do not want to appear for final exams, the GR said.
Such students will be awarded final year scores based on the average of marks of previous semesters, it said.
Students can take optional exam later (if they wish to improve their score), the GR added.
Advocate Uday Warunjikar, petitioner’s lawyer, argued that this dual assessment method had no logic and it can not be adopted while granting degrees.
After hearing brief arguments, a division bench of Justices A A Sayed and M S Karnik said the UGC should be made a respondent, and adjourned the hearing on July 17.