The Shiv Sena’s youth wing Yuva Sena, headed by Maharashtra cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray, has moved the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of the final year exams of universities across states in view of the COVID-19 crisis.
The youth wing is led by Aaditya Thackeray, who also holds the environment and tourism portfolios in the Shiv Sena-led state government.
Yuva Sena secretary Varun Sardesai said the petition which he filed was submitted on Saturday (July 18). According to news agency ANI, the petition has not been taken up for hearing yet.
Referring to the University Grant Commission’s (UGC’s) circular asking states to conduct the final year exams, Sardesai said it was impossible to do so amid apprehensions about the spread of infection in states like Maharashtra, which has approximately 10 lakh students.
“Even in this highly worrying time, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and University Grants Commission (UGC) have announced that final year examinations will be conducted in India by universities in the month of September 2020, keeping in mind the adoption of its guidelines, but ignoring the physical and mental health, anxiety and safety of students across the country,” the statement read, according to The Indian Express.
The Yuva Sena had also said in the statement that the 31 guidelines announced by the UGC to conduct the exams will not be effective given the severity of the pandemic.
Maharashtra has 2,92,589 positive cases of COVID-19, including 99,164 in Mumbai, as on July 17.
“The number of COVID-19 cases has been steadily on the rise and there has been no flattening of the virus curve. Many states and cities have been placed under lockdown again. Even the WHO said large gatherings should not be held,” Sardesai said.
The Maharashtra state government has already cancelled the final year/final semester examinations for professional and non-professional courses.
The group went on to note that educational institutions like the IITs, and the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and a few others had already cancelled examinations.
The Yuva Sena has demanded that all states be given the right to take an appropriate decision based on the prevailing situation in their respective areas.
The Yuva Sena also pointed out that the UGC could face issues with paper-checking, dates to declare the examination results, delays in admissions to postgraduate courses, and network connectivity issues in rural areas in case examinations are conducted online.
The youth wing had also suggested evaluating students on the basis of an average of the marks obtained in previous examinations.
Sardesai further said the Yuva Sena had received requests from many students across the country to take up the cause (to cancel the examinations). He claimed that the Yuva Sena had obtained more than two lakh signatures seeking cancellation of exams during an online campaign.
“Yuva Sena under leadership of Aaditya Thackeray wrote letters to the UGC and Union HRD ministry to highlight the issue but has got no response,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)