The Bombay High Court today directed the Mumbai University to file a reply justifying its decision to not provide supplements or additional answer sheets to students during exams. A bench of justices B R Gavai and B P Colabawalla directed the university to file its reply by Thursday (December 14).
The petitioner, Manasi Bhushan, a final year student, had approached the high court earlier last week arguing that the university’s decision to prohibit students from using supplements was arbitrary and erroneous. Her counsel, advocate Vishal Kanade, today told the high court that the university’s decision was primarily based on the apprehension that supplementary answer sheets added to the problems faced by the university’s new online assessment system. Vashi and Vashi were advocates on record for the petitioner.
According to the plea, the university in October issued a circular saying that during the examinations, all the students must finish their answers in the main answer sheet booklet that comprises 37 pages. The circular said that students will not be permitted to ask for any additional answer sheets or ‘supplements’ as they are called.
The university’s counsel Rui Rodrigues told the high court that all answer sheet booklets issued by the university have separate bar codes. Since the main answer sheet booklets and the supplement booklets had different barcodes, some confusion occurred during their online assessment and in several cases, students were marked only on their main booklet, or just on their supplement booklet.
He also questioned the delay in filing of the petition, especially considering that the next exams for law students is on the coming Saturday (December 16). Advocate Kanade, however, told the court that the petitioner had sent representations to the university soon after the circular was issued, but she was yet to get any response.
He argued that the university must fix the problems in its online assessment process instead of denying supplements to students. He said that students, especially those who were studying law, often needed to write longer, more subjective answers, and thus, needed supplements.