DU turning turtle too often: HC on varsity’s changing stance

Delhi High Court

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted more time to the Delhi University to draw up a plan for conducting examinations for final year students, expressing displeasure on its changing stance. The court said that the varsity is turning turtle too often.

A division bench of the High Court presided by Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad directed the varsity to file an affidavit by July 13 narrating how it is going to conduct the final year examinations (whether online, offline or mixed modes) and a proper and final date sheet in order to give a clarity to the students.

“Chart out a course and be clear on where you want to go,” said the court while asking the varsity to file an affidavit posting the matter for further hearing on July 14.

The time was granted after senior advocate Sachin Dutta appearing for the varsity informed the court that a new plan has to be formulated in accordance with the latest UGC guidelines.

The court expressed its displeasure over the University”s move to constantly change its stance regarding the conduct of the final year examinations. “Delhi University is turning turtle too often,” the High Court said.

Initially, the varsity had announced that the online Open Book Examination (OBE) would commence from July 1, which was later postponed to July 10 and again it was postponed till August 15 without giving a specific date as to when the exams would take place.

The court came down heavily on the varsity and said, “What do you want us to do, constantly monitor Delhi University as to when the exams would take place?”

Dutta informed the court that a meeting of the varsity officials took place where it was discussed that more time should be given for acclimatizing students with the new mode of examination as there were many complaints.

He then informed the bench that a fresh date sheet would be issued after consultation with the Ministry of Human Resource and Development and the UGC.

Following these submissions, the bench questioned that the date sheet is a sole affair of the varsity. “The date sheet has nothing do with the UGC or Ministry,” the bench said.

“The way DU is conducting itself in the past two weeks, we aren”t impressed. Careers of thousands of students are dependent on this passing out certificates. If DU does not empathise with its students, where will they go,” the court said.

The bench also noted that the mock tests conducted by the varsity had a lot of glitches. It also asked DU to prepare a schedule which is not as far as the proposed date of August 15. However, the DU counsel mentioned that the UGC guidelines have granted time till September to complete the exams.

Responding to the same, the court asked DU as to why can”t it conduct the exams sooner when it was ready to conduct the same on July 1.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal for Petitioner Prateek Sharma stressed that DU must clarify the mode and manner of examination it intends to conduct now.

Following this, the court asked DU to clarify its stand on when and how the examinations would be taking place. “We have all gone through this examination process which is nerve-wrecking for the students especially in such times where a pandemic is in place,” said the judge.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions led by one Anup challenging the cancellation of the examinations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plea sought quashing and withdrawal of the notifications of May 14, May 30 and June 27, 2020 in respect of undergraduate and postgraduate students, including students of the School of Open Learning and Non-Collegiate Women Education Board.

The batch of petitions included another petition filed by NSUI Delhi chief Akshay Lakra which sought quashing of the notifications regarding the OBE as well as the Examination Schedule issued by the Respondent No 1 — (DU).

“The Delhi University without following the procedure established by law, unilaterally and arbitrarily decided to hold Online Open Book Exams for the students of Delhi University,” the plea filed by the NSUI Delhi President said.

He also alleged in his plea that DU has flouted the laws as laid down under the applicable statutes and deliberately overlooked the Academic Council and Executive Council and grievances/representation raised by the esteemed members of the Academic Council and Executive Council while issuing the said notifications.

“The Respondent No 1 has unlawfully interfered in the sphere reserved exclusively for the expert bodies which derive their powers from the statutory provisions of the applicable laws,” Lakra said in his petition.


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