Relations between the CM and the governor were never cordial
Maharashtra’s Chief Minister suffered a severe setback on Tuesday when Governor B.S. Koshiyari wrote a strongly-worded letter to him opposing the former’s announcement cancelling all final year examinations citing difficulties in holding exams because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Thackeray stated that the average marks of the earlier semesters will be taken into account while declaring the students pass.
Mr Koshiyari, who is the ex-officio chancellor of all varsities in the state, was furious not only because the CM made the important announcement impacting lakhs of students without consulting him despite he being the chancellor, but also because it was in violation of the Universities Act.
Calling the decision “arbitrary” the governor accused the CM of violating “the basic principle that to obtain an identical degree
Mr Koshiyari said as Chancellor of Universities he was the final authority over all University matters as per the provisions of Maharashtra Public Universities Act. Mr Thackeray’s inexperience was in full evidence when he made the announcement in violation of the law. Ideally, the education secretary ought to have advised the CM. Obviously, that did not happen.
Mr Koshiyari described the CM’s as “unprecedented” and made ‘’without any profound thinking on the legal repercussions“. The decision would have jeopardised the future of students.
The Governor said that he was surprised to learn through media reports that the CM had declared that no examinations shall be conducted this year even as he was awaiting a response from him to his earlier letter on the crucial issue.
Mr Koshiyari noted that even though the Committee of Vice-Chancellors constituted by the Minister for Higher and Technical Education Mr Uday Samant (Shiv Sena) to analyse the situation and to explore various options available to conduct the examinations had given its report to the Secretary, Higher and Technical Education Department as early as May 6 2020, the same had not been presented to him till date.
if other Boards can conduct examinations for younger children, then the Universities can conduct their examinations as well
The Governor pointed out that during his video conference with Vice Chancellors, “all the vice-chancellors of state universities had communicated their preparedness for conducting their respective examinations.” If this was the case then on what basis Mr Thackeray unilaterally cancelled the exams?
Calling the decision “arbitrary” the governor accused the CM of violating “the basic principle that to obtain an identical degree, there cannot be two sets of criteria, one who has given examination and for the other who has obtained marks on average. The examinations cannot be made optional”.
Pointing out further that the students of Medicine, Architecture, Law, etc needed to register themselves with their respective professional bodies/councils after completion of professional course so as to get their licence to practice, the Governor stated that these bodies may not be able to register the students without them being evaluated on established parameters.
Mr Koshiyari, who is a seasoned administrator, noted that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had given approval and issued guidelines to conduct examinations to various state boards and that CBSE and ICSE are in the process of conducting their examinations in spite of the COVID situation. He said that if other Boards can conduct examinations for younger children, then the Universities can conduct their examinations as well.
In his letter, the Governor has mentioned that the UGC and other central authorities are of the view that the final year examination may not be dispensed with and that therefore the State Government should abide by UGC guidelines along with the provisions of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 2017.
Relations between the CM and the governor were never cordial. But, the cancellation of exams is a matter which goes beyond personal niceties; it blatantly violates the law. It also exposes the weak pedestal on which Mr Thackeray is standing on the coalition pedestal. The NCP routinely overrules him, while the Congress stirred into action only when the issue of filing FIR against Arnab Goswami cropped up.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.