The government had said that since regular exams were cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic, it was natural to cancel arrear exams as well.

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Coronavirus Education Sunday, November 22, 2020 - 11:47

Tamil Nadu government on Saturday informed the Madras High Court that it cancelled the arrear exams for college students to avoid “discrimination among students”. On August 26, the state government cancelled arrear examinations for Arts, Science, Engineering and Computer Application (Masters) students, barring final-year students. The government was responding to the pleas filed by former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University E Balagurusamy and advocate Ramkumar Adityan, challenging the government order to cancel the arrear examinations.

In its counter-affidavit, filed by Joint Secretary of Higher Education Department M Ilango Henry Dass on behalf of the Principal Secretary, the state government said that since regular exams were cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic, it was natural to cancel arrear exams as well. According to reports, the Tamil Nadu government informed a Division Bench headed by Justices M Sathyanarayanan and R Hemalatha of the Madras High Court, that the state wanted to avoid creating inequality among students by discrimination between “regular and arrear students”.

Notably, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had refused to accept the government order cancelling arrear exams for students who have already paid the fees. It also added that the order was in violation of the norms stipulated by the University Grants Commission (UGC). On October 7, the Madras High Court noted that the order passed by the state government is in clear violation of the AICTE’s guidelines.

In response to Balagurusamy’s argument that the state’s order lowered the education standard of the students and the university, the counsel for the state government reportedly said,” In the absence of any specific guidelines about arrear paper, the state extended the exemption granted to regular students to arrear students as well to ensure no discrimination.”

The Tamil Nadu government also added that before passing the order, it had consulted with several universities.

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