The Delhi High Court today directed the Delhi University to submit a detailed affidavit regarding the proposed mode of conducting examinations for the undergraduate courses, along with a proper examination schedule.
A Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad has also called upon the University to address the concerns of students who are not able to take the examinations as of now.
The order has been passed in a bunch of writ petitions filed by the final year students of the Delhi University challenging the decision of the University to conduct online open book examinations (OBE).
The court has directed the delhi university to submit the above affidavit by July 13.
Today, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the University Grants Commission, informed the court that as per its revised circular dated 06/07/20, Universities have been asked to conduct examinations by the end of September.
Solicitor General further submitted that universities are free to opt for either the online or the offline mode of conducting the examinations, as long as it is in consonance with the Standard Operating Procedures released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
‘UGC has not permitted the option of promoting the final year students on the basis of assignment or internal assessment’.
After taking a note of these submissions, the court pulled up the Delhi University for its uncertainty and ambiguity regarding the examination schedule.
The court said:
‘Your (Delhi University) preparation has left too little too desire, you’ve been turning turtles too often these days… Do you want us to monitor the University now?’
The court further observed:
‘Why have you (DU) filed such a vague affidavit? Careers of thousands of students are at stake. UGC and MHRD will not micro manage the Universities, you need to formulate your own exam schedule. You need to be clear and candid to the students… There’s much that needs to be said about the way you conducted the mock tests.’
The university had submitted an affidavit this morning through a last-minute email, informing the court that a meeting of the High-Powered Committee, chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, was convened on July 07 to discuss the revised UGC guidelines.
That meeting suggested that students shall be given more time to acclimatize themselves with the process of examinations. In light of the same, the examinations were postponed till August 15.
Senior Advocate Sachin Dutta, who appeared for the Delhi University, has thus submitted that the university will come up with a detailed examination schedule in a couple of days and sought time to file the same.
During the earlier hearings before the Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, the petitioners had suggested that the final year students shall be promoted on the basis of the average marks earned in previous years along with the internal assessment.
The Petitioners had further filed a compilation of complaints from students across the country wherein the following issues have been highlighted:
- Postponement of exams would lead to inability of students to apply for jobs in Public Sector Undertakings which have set the application deadline to be July 31.
- Such postponement would also adversely impact the prospects of the students why are seeking admissions for Post Graduate programmes in Universities abroad
- OBE method is plagued by technical glitches, lack of computers and internet access to many students
- Some students are finding it difficult to appear for the exams as someone in their family, or they themselves, are suffering from COVID19
- Some students have also exhibited mental trauma due to the uncertainty that looms on the date of conducting the exams
The Petitioners had also argued that the decision taken by the University is contrary to the various provisions of the Delhi University Act, as the Executive and the Admission Council was bypassed while taking the decision.
The matter will next be heard on July 14.
On Wednesday, the University informed the Court that it has decided to postpone the exams, scheduled to commence from July 10, to August.
Lead matter: Prateek Sharma v. Union of India
Connected matters: Anupam v. University of Delhi, Akshay Lakra v. University of Delhi, Kabir Sachdeva v. University of Delhi