Published: 04th August 2020
Delhi HC probes DU's exam preparedness, the fate of online exams to be decided on August 5
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that it will next hear the petition challenging the OBE on August 5. The exams are scheduled to begin from August 10
Students of the University of Delhi will have to wait for one more day to know the fate of the online Open Book Examinations. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday has asked Senior Advocate Sachin Dutta, who represents the university, to argue at 2.30 pm on Wednesday. Dutta, in his argument, will have to explain the amount of time granted to the students to download question papers, show where the email IDs and helpline numbers will be published, the decision on the committee that the university was to set up and clarify the 5 MB limit on answer sheets.
Representing the UGC, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that conducting examinations is mandatory and that the examinations should be 2-3 hours long. He also asked the court to wait until the Supreme Court proclaims its verdict on the UGC guidelines on August 10. The DU OBEs are supposed to begin on August 10. He added that while the UGC is adamant on conducting examinations before September 30, exceptions can be made in certain cases. "If a student cannot appear for their examination, we can conduct (offline) examinations for them after September too," said Mehta.
Akash Sinha, who represented the petitioning students, on the other hand, argued that DU's decision violates Articles 14, 16 and 21 of the constitution. "A lot of students had no access to the internet for the mock exams and could not go to the CSC academies for the same. They will have no prior experience in attempting these exams on August 10. Also, a lot of students are stuck in containment zones and flood-affected regions, where CSC academies won't open," he said. He added that it is risky to make students travel to these centres, given the spike on COVID cases.
Sinha also presented a crowdsourced document that showed how various universities across the country have relied on other modes of examinations. For instance, NLU Delhi asked its students to complete an assignment in 72 hours, while JNU's School of Environment Sciences gave them an assignment to be completed in 24 hours. "Why are DU students subjected to this draconian rule?" Sinha asked.
Shivankar Sharma, who was appearing for the petitioners, said that the option of OBE cannot be rationally justified. He added, "Students who are in Delhi would have better networks than those belonging to rural areas, keeping in mind that most students are from outside Delhi." He also raised concerns about data privacy.