UGC Under Secretary had not offered any comment on State’s decision
The Madras High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the University Grants Commission (UGC) for filing an evasive counter affidavit to a case filed against State Government’s decision to cancel arrear examinations of all arts, science, engineering and Master of Computer Application students except for those pursuing final year during the current academic year.
Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha wondered how an expert body such as UGC could file a counter affidavit without commenting upon the main crux of the case. The senior judge in the Bench said the commission should have either not understood the case at all or intentionally chosen to avoid commenting upon the issue in question.
In the counter affidavit, UGC Under Secretary Umakant Baluni had not offered any comment on the correctness or otherwise of the State Government’s decision to cancel the arrear examinations. Instead, he had only stated about guidelines issued by the UGC instructing all universities to necessarily conduct examinations for final year/terminal semester students.
However, advocate V. Sudha, representing UGC, tendered sincere apology for the mistake and undertook to file an additional affidavit by November 20. She also told the court that UGC was not in favour of cancellation of the arrear examinations by the State government and it wants universities to conduct exams by following the standard operating procedures laid down by the Centre.
On her part, advocate AL. Ganthimathi, representing All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), also told the court that the council too was not in favour of cancellation of the examinations. After hearing them, Justice Sathyanarayanan wondered why the arrear examinations can’t be conducted, at least through online mode.
Special Government Pleader (Education) E. Manoharan sought time to file a detailed counter affidavit explaining the rationale behind the State government’s decision to cancel the examinations and hence the judges adjourned the case for further hearing to November 20.
They instructed the SGP and counsel for UGC to serve their counter affidavits in advance on E. Vijay Anand, counsel for former Anna University Vice Chancellor E. Balagurusamy, who had filed a public interest litigation petition against the cancellation of arrear examinations, and also on other counsel representing the intervenors.
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