CHENNAI: Coming to the rescue of lakhs of students pursuing studies in first, second and third year courses in various engineering colleges affiliated to Anna University, the Madras High Court has directed the varsity to publish their semester results for 2019-20 without insisting on payment of examination fees.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh gave the direction on Friday while passing interim orders on the writ petitions from B Sowndharya and S Hariharan, third year students of Annapoorna Engineering College in Salem.
Senior advocate K Doraisamy, appearing for the students, submitted that the Controller of Examinations, Anna University, on August 1 issued instructions to all the educational institutions to furnish the attendance secured by the students upto March 16 for theory and practical subjects. He also called for internal assessment marks for these courses conducted till March 16. The proposal was to give the deficit marks and pass all the students.
However, in the last para of that communication, he had demanded examination fees from the students for the exams, which were not conducted since they were cancelled pursuant to orders of the AICTE/UGC/State Higher Education department.
The university on August 6 extended the time for payment of examination fee to August 14. Fearing that their future may be ruined, some well to do students paid the fees. The university published the results only for those who had paid the fees by giving automatic pass in the examinations which were not conducted. For students like the petitioners, who were not in a position to make the payment due to the ongoing lockdown, the results were not published.
When the government authorities had issued orders for cancelling the end semester examination for UG and PG students of first to pre-final year students taking into consideration the extraordinary situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the university was not justified in demanding payment of the exam fee of Rs 1,450 during the unprecedented national emergency, said Doraisamy.
There are totally seven lakh students studying engineering programmes both UG and PG in the university affiliated non-autonomous colleges. The demand for fees for the cancelled exams will amount to unjust enrichment, the petitioners contended. The university, having given automatic pass to those students who paid the examination fees, erred in denying the same benefit to the other students like the petitioners who did not pay the fees, Doraisamy argued and sought to quash the August 1 communication in so far as it demanded exam fees.
The court has passed interim orders to the university to publish the results. The university had earlier justified that the exam fees are required since the university has to incur various expenses in publishing the results.