Published: 28th July 2020
Owing to lack of equipment and scribes, 200 blind DU students cannot appear for Online Open Book Exams
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday heard a petition challenging the examination on grounds of discrimination towards differently-abled students
Around 200 visually impaired Delhi University students cannot appear for exams due to the non-availability of scribes and reading materials, according to the National Federation of the Blind. The NGO had informed the Delhi High Court when a bench comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad heard a petition against the university's decision to conduct Online Open Book Examinations. The petitioners argued that it was discriminatory towards differently-abled students.
The NGO said that the university did not assist the students with the necessary equipment. "If DU wants to conduct these exams, it should at least provide such students assistance equipment. DU has not complied with the earlier orders of this court'," said its General Secretary S K Rungta. Upon this, the court questioned the university about the non-availability of scribes, reading material and assistance equipment for visually impaired students. "Colleges responded to our requests by saying that they regret the inconvenience," said Rungta.
The university, on the other hand, said that it did not receive any request seeking reimbursement for money spent on buying assisting equipment or reading materials. "We can only provide materials which are available with us. Open Book is only an option, it's not compulsory," said Dr Anil Kumar Aneja, Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Equal Opportunity Cell, University of Delhi. "We have an understanding with an NGO which has undertaken to supply our assistive devices to the visually impaired students. However, only 24 students made such requests," he added.
The court had also asked the university for the number of students who had availed to use the services of CSC academies. However, the university did not have an answer to this. Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, at the same time, informed the court that only 3.76 lac CSC centres in the country are functional.
The court has now directed the university to submit the list of CSCs, the status of availability of scribes and if it can accommodate all the students.