UGC and Latest Development in examination for law colleges

Aastha Singh

Aug, 10, 2020

But what brings us to this discussion is the petition filed by a final year law student of Barkatullah University, Bhopal, Yash Dubey against the guidelines of UGC to wrap up examination of final year students across the nation. The arbitrary date set by UGS for conducting examination of final year students restricts the right to equality and right to life enshrined under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India respectively.

When India is battling to not become Corona worst hit country, students suffer from the lack of apathy from the University Grant Commission in the Court. UGC published guidelines dated 7.06.202 regarding the planning with the education and conducting examination of the students across the country during lockdown. But what brings us to this discussion is the petition filed by a final year law student of Barkatullah University, Bhopal, Yash Dubey against the guidelines of UGC to wrap up examination of final year students across the nation. The arbitrary date set by UGS for conducting examination of final year students restricts the right to equality and right to life enshrined under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India respectively. The Supreme Court on 27th July heard the petition along with the petition filed by Aditya Thackeray and others. But what instigated them the most to file this petition is discriminatory provision for final year students to appear for exam latest by 30th September. The UGC justification for adamant provision for conducting of examination is rather vague and boorish as in their counter-affidavit submitted, states that the exams for final year students is of crucial importance to test their skills and learning before coming to practice. UGC argued that the last year of graduation offers subjects based to enhance the skills of the students crucial to test the knowledge and is a reflection of their competence and credibility. Above all, to protect the degradation standard of the higher education in the country, it is rather a necessary to frame such guidelines which protect the legislative field from encroachment as Parliament is solely entitled to make provision regarding higher education under Entry 66 of List I of Schedule VII of the Constitution.The counter affidavit further added that in the context of safety of the students and the staffs of universities and colleges, the guidelines published on 7.06.2020 clearly provided enough opportunities to the students and colleges to conduct alternative online exams. Apart from this, the guidelines provided ample time for conducting the examination after following the requisite protocol and arrange special exams for those unable to spear for exams by 30th Sept.

In this backdrop the petitioner moved an urgent rejoinder to reject the counter-affidavit submitted by the UGC for abandoning the grievances put forward by the students through the petition. It is contented by the petionioners that the response of the UGC is unsatisfactory as the UGC failed to give heed to the harassment the students are facing in different part of the country. The country is hit by a deadly virus and states such as Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana among others are witnessing a death march in the pandemic. One of the petitioners himself is tested positive for COVID-19 and in the lights of such events replying that the UGC provided enough time for the colleges to arrange for the examination by adhering to protocol show the lack of empathy they hold for the students. In addition to this many states in country have declared complete lockdown due to the potential risk of rapid transmission, travelling under such circumstance is not only risky for the students but poses a threat to others as one student may be a carrier infecting others. With government’s relatedly request and International guidelines to stay home, compulsorily summoning the final year students for examinations infringement of their right to equality. In response to upholding the high education standards, the petitioners submitted that most of the colleges and universities follow the rule where subjects are changed each semester, which brings us to the conclusion that 80 to 95 percent of the subjects are already covered during the previous semester. Furthermore, most of the college and universities amidst lockdown did not conduct proper online classes and it is rather unfair to conduct any examination on part of universities in the light of their unfulfilled duties.

It is pertinent here to point out that apart from pandemic many states of India including Bihar, Assam and North-Eastern states are hit by flood making it more difficult for the residents to meet their ends and in such time of hardship it is unfair to expect students to travel across the country by not just putting their health and life at riskbut their parent’s and peers as well. It is abundantly clear that procurement of degree is a time-sensitive issue as most of the students have to furnish their degree in order to join their respective jobs and colleges abroad by the end of July and any delay in this case hampers the opportunity of the students to employment in compared to those who have already been given clean chit by their university on the basis of calculating the aggregates of previous semester. It is in lines of this argument that their Right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is fragrantly violated. But what more concerns the students is the non-progressive approach of UGC in their counter-affidavit and guidelines as no practical alternative pattern is available to conduct examination. The suggestive online examination has overlooked the plight of many students residing in Jammu and Kashmir and remote areas of the country where either low speed internet is available which doesn’t ensure smooth functioning of heavy web pages or no internet facility is present to aid the students. Thus, conducting online examination if a step further in dividing the country on digital spaces where one section is deprived of the benefit of it and further violates their Right to equality.