Delhi HC allows DU to conduct online open book exams for final year UG courses

The court said question papers have to be uploaded on Delhi University's portal and sent to students through email

Press Trust of India August 07, 2020 16:18:36 IST
Delhi HC allows DU to conduct online open book exams for final year UG courses

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday gave its nod to the Delhi University for conducting online Open Book Examination (OBE) for final year undergraduate courses from 10 August with a slew of directions.

Justice Prathiba M Singh said the questions papers will be sent to the students' email ID and be uploaded on the varsity's portal and they will be given an extra hour to upload the answer sheets.

The varsity is directed to send an auto generated email informing the students that their answer sheets have been received, the high court, which was pronouncing the judgement through video conferencing, said.

"I wish the students and Delhi University all the best for the exams," Justice Singh said.

The court passed the verdict on a plea challenging the varsity's decision to hold online OBE, as per the UGC guidelines, for final year undergraduate courses which will be in long form exams.

The DU is scheduled to hold final year undergraduate online OBE from 10-31 August and the students who will be left out of online exams will be given an opportunity to appear in physical examinations, to be held sometime in September.

The high court, while delivering the judgement, also directed that details of nodal officer and central email ID be published on the DU website and asked the Common Service Centres (CSC), which have been set up to provide services to students who do not have infrastructure to give OBE, to notify all its centres by the end of the day.

There shall be a grievance officer to address the issues raised by students, including problems in downloading question paper and uploading answer sheets. In case of non-redressal, the complaint to be forwarded to the Grievance Committee, it said.

The court reconstituted the Grievance Committee under the aegis of retired Justice Prathiba Rani and said that the panel will function till OBE continues and the students' complaints need to be addressed within five days.

The court said OBE results ought to be announced in a short period and the answer sheets be simultaneously sent for evaluation.

It asked the DU and the committee to file their respective reports after the exams are over.

The university had earlier informed the court that the idea behind holding online OBE was to prevent students from assembling in one hall where it would be difficult to maintain social distancing in the times of COVID-19 pandemic.

The DU's counsel had submitted that a student does not need very high technology to sit for online OBE as having an email will be sufficient and that connectivity issues will be far more in other modes.

He had contended that the University Grants Commission guidelines, which mandates conducting exams for final year students, have foreclosed what is being sought by petitioners and they have to be subjected to examination.

The UGC had submitted that for final year, majority of assessment cannot be internal based and so far as final year examinations are concerned, it has to be timed and can be online, offline or blended mode but they cannot be presentation based.

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