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Maharashtra Government states before Bombay HC that it cannot conduct physical exams due to Coronavirus situation

By Prachi Misra      22 July, 2020 03:12 PM      1 Comments
Maharashtra Government BombayHC Coronavirus

The Maharashtra Government has stated its position before Bombay High Court that they cannot conduct physical examinations for the final year of Professional as well as of Non-Professional courses in the time of COVID-19. 

The State Government told the Government that it had appealed to the apex bodies of the respective courses to oversee matters related to conducting of final year exams and allow universities to issue degrees to the students who can further study or work.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Datta and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai was hearing the pleas for challenging the Maharashtra Governments 19th June decision to not hold examination of final year students be it Professional or Non-Professional courses due to coronavirus. However, few pleas were raised for conducting examinations.

A PIL was filed by retired professor and Dhananjay Raghunath Kulkarni through Advocate Uday Warunjikar stated that the University Grants Commission (UGC) is the regulatory authority and the state was not empowered to decide regarding the final year exams and that the government should be set aside and quashed.

The High Court on 7th July 2020 asked UGC to be the respondent and asked the state should respond within a week.

Advocate R V Govilkar for Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) submitted that examination for post-graduation has to be conducted as the students need to be assessed through practical assessment and Hench, MUHS has decided to take the examination for the same from 25th August 2020. However, the examination for undergraduate medical exams is yet to be decided and for the same, the meeting will be held on Thursday.

Advocate Kuldeep Nikam appearing for the petitioner Akash Udaysing Rajput had sought interim relief for the dental exams scheduled from 3rd August 2020. Nikam submitted that as per the directions issued by the authority students have to reach exam centers and also undergo quarantine. A dental college in Mumbai stated that they don’t have enough facilities to quarantine students. And thus the exam should be cancelled. He further said, instead of this, the exams should be held online.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said that the state was firm that exams cannot be conducted physically. The state submitted an affidavit in response to the PIL through Dhanraj Mane, Director of the Directorate Higher Education and said that conscious decision was taken to cancel the exams for both professional and non-professional courses due to this pandemic.

The state government stated that the infection can be spread to paper and many people handling that paper can spread more of it.

The affidavit stated, “Therefore, it is inherently dangerous from the point of view of public safety and safety of students to permit holding of such examinations by the Universities in the state looking at the present COVID-19 situation.”

The state government also stated that the final examination is only one examination during the length of many examinations.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said in order to avoid confusion a compilation of all the pleas can be submitted to the court.

The bench accepted such a proposition of Kumbhakoni and directed all parties to submit their affidavits in reply by Tuesday, 21st July 2020, and posted all the pleas for further hearing on 31st July 2020.

Moreover, the HC has also heard the PIL filed by Samarvir Singh, a student of government law college, Mumbai seeking to declare the results of final year students on the basis of previous assessment or internal examination s a one-time measure for the academic year 2019-20.

Failing which, the final year students will miss out on an opportunity for higher studies abroad or appear for competitive exams in absence of results.

Responding to the plea, Kumbhakoni has communicated to the apex bodies including Bar council to not conduct an examination and declare results on the previous assessment. HC sought response from Bar Council of India on Singh's plea and posted it for further hearing on 31st July 2020. 



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