The Delhi High Court on Tuesday questioned Delhi University over its preparedness and lack of facilities for the specially abled students to enable them to appear in the OBE for final year undergraduate courses.
"This is how you're concerned about the career and future of the final year students?" remarked a division bench of the high court presided by Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad while hearing a batch of petitions in connection with the online OBE examination conducted by the central varsity.
The bench also expressed displeasure over Delhi University not filing an affidavit even after the court had directed it to do so. "We are also concerned by the fact that neither the Delhi University's counsel or the Central government standing counsel are in a position to inform as to the number of students who have opted for a scribe to give the OBE," it said.
The bench stated that it is important to know that the students who have asked for a scribe will be able to interact with them two days before the exams.
"Out of 2.75 lakh students who have applied for OBE, how many have applied for CSC Centre. Out of those who have sought this service of CSC, how many of them reside in remote places," the bench said while asking the varsity to file its response by Wednesday.
The bench observed that both the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Electronics and Technology (MoET) have filed their response as per the directions of the court stating the number of Common Service Centres (CSCs) which are operational.
"However, the affidavit of the MoET is silent on the number of CSCs which are not in functional state," it said.
While the arguments were going on, senior advocate Kapil Sibal who was appearing for the petitioners stated that many students reside in remote places and the CSC is not there. Hence it is important to know about the availability and logistics of these CSCs.
After noting the arguments of all the parties, the court directed the owner of the CSC Academy to be present on the next date of hearing on July 30.
"The CSC Academy's presence is required to understand as to how many CSC centres across India are situated in metro cities and how many are situated in remote areas. Accordingly, CSC academy is asked to be present with the following answers on the next date of hearing," the court said adding that the necessary data shall be collated and given by the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, while considering the petition filed by NSUI Delhi chief Akshay Lakra, who has challenged the legality of these examinations, the bench said, "This is not the time for legality, it is the time for practical solution."
The plea has alleged 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.
"When there is pandemic situation which is gripping the whole world and practical solutions are needed to save the careers of the students, you'll get into the technicality," the bench said while posting this matter for further hearing in the first week of August.
On the previous date of hearing, the high court had asked to place before it the details regarding the mock tests being conducted by the varsity and which began on July 27. "We would like to know how your mock tests went and also about how many students participated in the same. Give us the complete data by the next date of hearing," the court had said.
Initially, the varsity had announced that the online Open Book Examination (OBE) would commence from July 1, which was later postponed by the varsity to July 10 and again to August 15 without giving a specific date when the exams would take place.