Delhi HC permits DU to conduct final year open book exams, gives directions to address students’ concerns

In place of the online OBE method, students had mooted for project/assignment based assessment, internal assessment, or assessment based on past results

Delhi HC permits DU to conduct final year open book exams, gives directions to address students’ concerns
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NH Web Desk

The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed the University of Delhi to proceed with its online Open Book Examinations (OBE) for final year undergraduate students, scheduled to start from August 10, legal news website LiveLaw.in has reported.

Though the court declined the students' plea to stay the exam, it passed a slew of directions to address the various concerns raised by students. The court directed the DU to comply with its directions and communicate the same to the Common Service Centre Academy

The single bench of Justice Pratibha M Singh passed the following directions :

  • Question papers have to be available both on the portal and email ID of the students
  • Students to be given one hour extra for uploading the answer sheets
  • Auto-generated email shall be sent informing students that their answer sheets have been accepted.
  • DU has to ensure that Centralised Email ID has enough capacity to hold responses from all the students
  • Email Ids of all the nodal officers, participating colleges and concerned officers have to be published by Aug 8. DU Grievance Officer has to address the emails of the students expressing the grievances regarding the process within 48 hours; If not, the matter will be referred to the Grievance Redressal Committee.
  • Former Judge of Delhi HC, Justice Prathiba Rani, will chair the said Grievance Committee.
  • Common Service Centre Academy has to send emails to all its centres to ensure preparedness to conduct exams.
  • The said Committee will look into the grievances regarding the process of online OBE
  • DU has to submit a report to the said committee post the conducting of the exams.
  • DU will forward the answer sheets to the teachers simultaneously to ensure expeditious declaration of results
  • DU has to file a compliance report within 4 weeks.
  • Grievance Redressal Committee will also submit a report after three completion of online OBE.

"I wish all the students as well as the University all the best for conducting the exams," Justice Prathiba Singh said after pronouncing the order.

The court will next consider the matter on September 22 to ascertain the compliance of its directions.

Filed by multiple students of the Delhi University, the present petition challenged the decision of the University to conduct online Open Book Exam (OBE) on the ground that it is discriminatory as most students do not have access to internet or books.

During the course of the hearings, the Petitioners had various concerns regarding the preparedness of the University to conduct these exams.

These concerns included ensuring fast internet access to all students, availability of reading materials, provisions for dealing with technical glitches, and the functioning of the Common Service Students.

In place of the online OBE method, the Petitioners had mooted for project/assignment based assessment, internal assessment, or assessment based on past results.

The Delhi University, on the other hand, maintained a consistent stance that as per the UGC Guidelines, it has to conduct exams for the final year students before September 30.

While arguing that the online OBE is the best alternative available at the time of the pandemic, the University had submitted that students facing difficulty with online OBE will always have an option of appearing for the physical exams which will be conducted once the situation returns to normalcy.

In order to ensure internet access to all, the University said that it has entered into an agreement with the Common Service Centre Academy to provide digital services to students living in remote areas or other students who would be requiring the IT infrastructure for taking the exams.

Professor Vinay Gupta, the Dean of Examinations, had apprised the court that all the students had submitted their emails and that the helplines were available on the website for the students to access. Furthermore, a Grievance Committee had also been created vide notification dated 4th August. It was submitted that a timer portal would be present on the site, and the size of the file could be increased from 5 MB to 7 MB.

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