Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday declined to stay the final year and postgraduate dental exams (BDS and MDS) scheduled to be conducted by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) later this month.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice SP Tavade was hearing a plea filed by Akash Udaysing Rajput and other students, through advocate Kuldeep Nikam seeking interim reliefs and opposing the MUHS’s decision seeking a physical presence of medical students at exam centres. In view of this, he sought that exams be deferred or be held online instead of asking students to appear in person, reported The Indian Express.
The Court refused to grant interim relief by staying examinations and said, “There could be examinees, other than the petitioners, whom might be willing and prepared to write thee examinations even physically. Stay off the examinations behind the back of such examinees would be detrimental to their interests.”
It added, “Without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the petitioners, the University shall be at liberty to conduct the examinations scheduled on August 17 and 25 by strictly adhering to social distancing norms and other protocol to prevent the contagion.”
Advocate Nikam for students submitted that as per directions issued by the authority, students had to reach exam centres and also need to undergo quarantine. A dental college in Mumbai had earlier conveyed that it did not have sufficient facilities for providing quarantine to the students and therefore exams should be cancelled, Nikam argued. Due to the prevailing pandemic and grim situation in Maharashtra, it is practically impossible to hold and appear for physical exams, he said.
Advocate R V Govilkar for MUHS opposed the plea and submitted that examinations for the postgraduate course had to be conducted as the students had to be assessed physically to ascertain their skills, comprehension and hence MUHS would conduct the exams.
Moreover, MUHS said that holding final year dental exams was imperative as students would not be able to pursue a specialisation course if they did not take these exams and no examination for undergraduate students of other years is likely to be conducted presently.
Govilkar also cited that many deemed universities had already conducted final year exams and said, “Also, we need these students to graduate. Completing these exams will get the students to graduate and be able to help us fight against COVID-19.”
The bench further said that if any of the petitioner students do not appear for exams and if they make out a ‘strong case’ during the final stage of hearing for the university to conduct separate exams for them, it shall be open to the Court to make such directions as would be necessary for ends of justice.