The Delhi High Court on Monday directed Delhi University (DU) to conduct examinations for final-year students in the pen and paper mode from September 14 even as the varsity said “it was too short a time frame and there was immense pressure on the available manpower due to the ongoing open book examinations (OBE)”.
The move comes days after the Union home ministry, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court, said colleges could reopen to conduct final-year examinations.
The university had proposed to hold physical examinations for students who could not take the online exams, and those who want to better their performance in OBE, from September 20. But a bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the timeline was “quite unreasonable” and asked DU to advance the date.
The court noted that the university had earlier said it would be able to gauge the number of leftover students who would write the physical exams only after it measured those who participated in the online mode.
“By now, the online examinations have been conducted for an entire week. There should be enough data for the university to analyse the number of students who intend to sit for the examination physically in September,” the court observed.
The court said the “university should expedite conducting physical examinations so that the entire process can be over at the earliest”. It said even though at least two weeks are required after the online examinations are over on August 31, for the university to gear up, physical examinations should start by September 8.
When senior advocate Sachin Datta, appearing for DU, said it would be too short time to complete preparations, the bench changed the date to September 14. It asked DU’s counsel to file an affidavit and indicate the end date of the physical examination, after he expressed his inability to inform the end date immediately to the court.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) is not happy with the court’s order. Abha Dev Habib, treasurer, DUTA and assistant professor, Miranda House, said, “This will mean those students who could not appear for OBE because of adverse circumstances will now have to take health risks and appear for exams physically. Blind students, those living in different parts of the country and facing issues of connectivity will have to travel to Delhi, expose themselves to the virus and spend ₹40,000-50,000 on travel and rent. These physical exams will be monitored, while all such important parameters to ensure credibility were relaxed for OBE.”
An official in the DU’s admission branch, who wished not to be named, said, “It’s going to be a huge task to conduct physical exams amid the pandemic. DU has students from