The Delhi High Court Thursday pulled up Delhi University for repeatedly postponing exams of final-year undergraduate students in the last few weeks, and observed that examinations are “nerve-wracking” and the careers of thousands of students are at “stake”.
A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad also questioned DU on pushing the exams from July 10 to a date after August 15, especially when it had always claimed to be prepared for the online Open Book Examinations (OBE) on July 1 as well as on July 10.
The bench observed, “We all have gone through the examination process which is nerve-wracking for students, especially during the times of Covid-19 pandemic… Why are you pushing the exams to a date beyond August 15, knowing that careers of thousands of students are at stake and some might even lose one academic year.”
The bench directed DU to file an affidavit by July 13, detailing the schedule of final-year undergraduate exams which have been postponed from July 10 to beyond August 15 in view of the persisting Covid-19 pandemic.
It also asked the university to explain in the affidavit as to how it proposes to conduct exams – online, offline or both modes – besides the complete date sheet, providing clarity to students. The court allowed the request made by senior advocate Sachin Dutta, appearing for DU, that they be given two days to file an affidavit.
Dutta stated that the university will have to now work out a fresh plan and datesheet in terms of the July 6 guidelines and the July 8 circular, issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC), and declare the date and the manner in which the examinations would be conducted.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UGC, also informed the bench that the Commission had issued guidelines on July 6 and a circular on July 8, informing all the universities that the examination process for final-year students must be completed by the end of September 2020 and the mode of examinations could be online or offline or a blend of both.
The bench directed UGC to place on record the guidelines and the circular well before the next date of hearing, July 14.
During the hearing, the bench was also critical of the way mock exams were conducted by the varsity and referred to technical glitches during the tests.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions concerning the conduct of final-year examinations at DU amid the pandemic. Exams for final-year UG and PG students were first scheduled to be held on July 1, which was then rescheduled to July 10. On Wednesday, the university issued a notification, stating, “with reference to the notification issued on June 27, 2020, it is hereby notified for information to all concerned that the open book examination for all streams of final-year/semester/term of undergraduate and postgraduate students, including SOL and NCWEB, scheduled to be held from July 10, 2020 stands postponed.”
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