Delhi HC pulls up Delhi University for vague affidavit on examination schedule
While criticising the university for not submitting an exact examination schedule in its affidavit, the court highlighted that it needs to be clear and candid with the students
The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Delhi University to submit a detailed affidavit indicating the proposed mode of conducting examinations for the undergraduate courses, along with the date sheet and examination schedule, legal news website LiveLaw.in has reported.
A Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad has also directed the Delhi University to consider the concerns of students who can't take the examinations as of now, in its affidavit.
The order has come in a bunch of writ petitions filed by the final year students of the Delhi University challenging the decision of the University to conduct online open book examinations (OBE).
In today's proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the University Grants Commission, informed the court that as per its revised Circular dated 06/07/20, universities are given a timeline to conduct examinations by the end of September.
The Solicitor General further submitted that the universities are free to opt for either the online or the offline mode of conducting the examinations, keeping in mind the Standard Operating Procedures released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
'UGC has not permitted the option of promoting the final year students on the basis of assignment or internal assessment,' the Solicitor General clarified.
After taking these submissions into consideration, the court pulled up the Delhi University for its constant shifting of posts, and looming uncertainty and ambiguity regarding the examination schedule.
The court said:'Your (DU) preparation has left too little too desire, you've been turning turtles too often these days… Do you want us to monitor the University now?'
The court further said: 'Why have you (DU) filed such a vague affidavit? Careers of thousands of students are at stake. UGC and MHRD will not micro manage the Universities, you need to formulate your own exam schedule. You need to be clear and candid to the students… There's much that needs to be said about the way you conducted the mock tests.'
In its affidavit submitted this morning through a last minute email, the university informed the court that a meeting of the High Powered Committee, chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, was convened on July 7 to discuss the revised UGC guidelines.
That meeting, DU submitted, suggested that students shall be given more time to acclimatize themselves with the process of examinations. In light of the same, the examinations were postponed till August 15.
While criticizing the university for not submitting an exact examination schedule in its affidavit the court highlighted that it needs to be clear and candid with the students.
At this stage, Senior Advocate Sachin Dutta, who appeared for Delhi University, submitted that the university will come up with a detailed examination schedule in a couple of days and sought time to file the same.
During the earlier hearing before the Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, the petitioners had submitted that the final year students shall be promoted on the basis of the average marks earned in previous years along with the internal assessment.
The petitioners had further filed a compilation of complaints received from students across the country wherein the following issues have been highlighted:
- Postponement of exams would lead to inability of students to apply for jobs in Public Sector Undertakings which have set the application deadline to be July 31.
- Such postponement would also adversely impact the prospects of the students why are seeking admissions for Post Graduate programmes in Universities abroad
- OBE method is plagued by technical glitches, lack of computers and internet access to many students
- Some students are finding it difficult to appear for the exams as someone in their family, or they themselves, are suffering from COVID-19
- Some students have also exhibited mental trauma due to the uncertainty that looms on the date of conducting the exams
The petitioners had also argued that the decision taken by the university is contrary to the various provisions of the Delhi University Act, as the Executive and the Admission Council was bypassed while taking the decision.
The court will next take up the matter on July 14.
On Wednesday, the University informed the Court that it has decided to postpone the exams, scheduled to commence from July 10, to August.