SHIVAM THAKUR Vs. STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
HIGH COURT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
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JYOTSNA REWAL DUA,J. -
(1.) Decision of respondent-University to admit students in various entrance tests based campus courses only on their merit in the qualifying examinations, without holding the entrance tests, has been assailed in this writ petition filed by a student.
2(i). COVID-19 pandemic had started spreading its tentacles in India, when the respondent-University on 01.05.2020 invited online applications for admission to following courses based on entrance tests for academic year 2020-21:-
2(ii). On 29.05.2020, the University came up with another admission notice extending the last date for filling up forms for admissions to entrance test based courses for academic session 2020-21 upto 15.06.2020. Petitioner applied for admission to an entrance test based course, i.e. Master of Business Administration (Rural Development) and deposited the requisite fee.
2(iii). Various examinations viz. B.A./B.Sc/B.Com etc. at graduation level could not be conducted timely by the respondent-University due to COVID-19 pandemic. Conscious of this situation, instructions/circulars were issued by the respondent-University for conduct of these examinations by adhering to the Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education.
University Grants Commission ('UGC' in short) had also issued guidelines from time to time on academic calendar for the first year of Undergraduate and Postgraduate students of the universities for session 2020-21 in view of COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines in question (Annexure P-4) issued by the UGC were the result of deliberation of an emergent meeting of UGC held on 21.09.2020, which considered the report of expert committee and based on the report approved "UGC Guidelines on Academic Calendar for the First Year of Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Students of the Universities for the Session 2020-21 in view of COVID-19 Pandemic". The relevant extract from these guidelines is as under:-
In continuation of the UGC Guidelines dated 29.04.2020 (including in partial modification thereof) and 06.07.2020, the following guidelines have been framed on academic calendar for the first year under graduate and post graduate students in the Universities and colleges:-
1. The institutions where admissions are solely through entrance tests and have completed the necessary requirements or are likely to complete these requirements in near future, may start their academic session of 1st year at the earliest. If necessity arises, provisional admissions may also be made. The relevant documents of qualifying examination be accepted up to 31.12.2020.
2. Merit/entrance based admissions to the first year programmes for the session 2020-21 be completed by the end of October, 2020. The last date for admissions to fill up the remaining vacant seats shall be 30.11.2020.
(3.) The academic calendar for the first year students' proposed in the Guidelines dated 29.04.2020 stands amended. Hence, the academic Session 2020-21 may commence from 01.11.2020 for the first year students. Accordingly, the following calendar is suggested for the academic session 2020-2021:
- If there is a delay in declaration of result of the qualifying examinations, the universities may plan and start the academic session by 18.11.2020. The teaching learning process may continue in offline/online/blended mode. ;
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