The decision by the State of Maharashtra to cancel their exams in a bid to control the spread of the virus in the state was met with a lawsuit that found its way to the Supreme Court.
The lawsuit challenged the legality of the decision for the state to cancel the exams, the legality of students proceeding to their final year without sitting for an exam and if it was mandatory for the state to carry out exams before the 30th of September, which was the deadline for all states to have finished their exams.
Supreme Court ruling
The Supreme Court handed out their ruling that stated that the state had every right to cancel their exams. They indicated that the reasons given for exam cancellation were adequate and would end up helping the state controlling the spread of the virus.
In their statement, they indicated that the state’s decision for not holding exams by 30.09.2020 was within their mandate and they exercised the power under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The Supreme Court gave a directive that the state’s orders shall prevail over the deadline that had been set for exams to be carried out.
However, the states were told that they could not promote students to their final years without holding an exam. They were also told that they could not use previous performances and internal evaluations to gauge students’ performance and hence promote them to the next class, since such a decision did not fall under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. They were, therefore, directed to follow the UGC directive about a requirement for exam results before promotion to the next class.
This ruling ensured that the state could have flexibility in deciding when they should hold their exams. However, it also indicates that exams must be held if students have to proceed to the next year. Therefore, they were recommended to hold the exams amidst the spreading coronavirus in the country but were required to ensure that social distance and other measures meant to address the spread of the virus were observed.
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