JUDGEMENT

ASHOK BHUSHAN, J. - (1.)This batch of cases consisting of writ petitions (except one Special Leave Petition, i.e., SLP (C) D. No.15056 of 2020) filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India can be divided into two broad groups. First group of writ petitions consists of petitions filed by students, youth organisations and the teachers associations challenging the guidelines issued by University Grants Commission (hereinafter referred to as "UGC") dated 06.07.2020, O.M. dated 06.07.2020 issued by Ministry of Human Resource Development and letter dated 06.07.2020 issued by Ministry of Home Affairs whereby all the Universities and Colleges across the country had been directed to conduct terminal semester/ final year examinations by 30.09.2020. A further relief has been sought directing the respondents to declare the results of the students of the final year/terminal semester examinations of all universities/ institutions of the country on the basis of their past performance/internal assessment and to award marksheets and degrees. The second group of writ petitions are the writ petitions filed by the students challenging the decision of the State Disaster Management Authority as well as of the States (State of Maharashtra and State of West Bengal) for not holding final term examination. Further prayers have been made that State of Maharashtra as well as State of West Bengal be directed to comply with the UGC revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 and O.M. dated 06.07.2020 of Ministry of Human Resource Development. The special leave petition has been filed against a common order dated 14.07.2020 passed by the High Court of Delhi in Writ Petition No. 3199 of 2020 and other connected matters by which the High Court noted the schedule of examination in the Open Book Examination (OBE) mode by University of Delhi.
(2.)In Writ Petition (C) No. 724 of 2020, Praneeth K and Others Vs. University Grants Commission and Others, a common counter affidavit, additional affidavit and affidavit in reply to the UGC has been filed. The State of Maharashtra has also filed affidavits in Writ Petition (C) No. 724 of 2020. All the parties in Writ Petition (C) No. 724 of 2020 are represented. Other writ petitions and special leave petition are tagged with Writ Petition (C) No. 724 of 2020. The decision in Writ Petition (C) No. 724 of 2020 shall be sufficient to answer the issues raised in this batch of cases. The pleadings in Writ Petition (C)No. 724 of 2020 need to be noted in some detail with brief reference of prayers in other writ petitions and special leave petition.
Writ Petition (C) No. 724 of 2020 - Praneeth K and Ors. Vs. University Grants Commission and Ors.

(3.)This writ petition has been filed by 31 students pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate terminal semester/final year courses in different Universities located in different States across the country. The petitioners are studying in different Universities located in States of Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, NCT Delhi, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Meghalaya. Petitioners' case is that due to pandemic COVID-19, Government of India announced the nationwide lockdown w.e.f. 24.03.2020 in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India issued various directions, guidelines and SOPs. Various educational institutes and Universities extended their dates of examination for various courses postponing the same indefinitely.
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