Have some empathy for students: Delhi HC directs Delhi University3 min read

-Akshay Gurnani




The Court was hearing a batch of petitions concerning the conduction of final year examination at Delhi University amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The Delhi High Court today directed Delhi University to file an affidavit by July 13 detailing how and when the final year examination will be conducted by it. (Prateek Sharma vs UOI & Ors)

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad. The Court was hearing a batch of petitions concerning the conduction of final year examination at Delhi University amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, Delhi University had informed that it had decided to defer the final year examination to some time after August 15.
Delhi University stated,” No examination from July 10; Exams postponed till August: Delhi University tells Delhi HC”.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the University Grants Commission (UGC), informed the Court that under the Central Government’s order, a Circular/Guideline had been issued by it to all institutes. As per the Circular, the final year examinations had to be conducted by the educational institutions by September 30, through online, offline, or a blended model.

Union Home Ministry permits the conduct of examinations by Universities and Institutions UGC clarified that the conducting final year exam was compulsory.
Thereafter, the Court pulled up the Delhi University for changing its examination schedule repeatedly, especially when it had always claimed to be prepared for the online examination. The Court pointed out that initially, the examination, which was an online open book test, was scheduled to begin from July 1 and it was claimed by DU that all preparations were done.

DU, however, changed its mind completely and deferred it till July 10, the Court noted as it recalled that on July 6, DU had claimed that it was now conducting mock tests first.

Delhi High Court remarked,” Now we find it is some time after August 15. Do you want us to constantly monitor you?”.

The Court noted that the UGC had not issued any direction to educational institutions to defer examinations. The Court remarked that such delayed conduction of examination would hamper the career of thousands of students and some might even lose one academic year. Calling the change of date schedule for examination “nerve-wrecking”, the Court urged Delhi University to take a firm stand.

“As it is the current situation is bad enough.”, the Court said.

Delhi University informed the Court that the decision to defer the examination was taken by a High-Powered Committee in its emergent meeting held on July 7 at 9:30 pm. Senior Advocate Sachin Dutta, for Delhi University, stated that the decision was taken to acclimatize everyone and was arrived at after taking stock of the developments.
After the Court questioned the Delhi University for not even coming up with a firm schedule for the deferred examination, DU stated that the same would be notified in due course.

The Court accordingly directed Delhi University to file an affidavit on how and when the final year examination would be conducted by it. It also directed the University to clarify its stance on how it intended to deal with students who might not be able to sit for the same.
The matter would be heard next on July 14.

Read also: “You can’t act so casual”, Law Student faces ire of Karnataka HC