New Delhi: The Delhi University on Wednesday informed the High Court that it has postponed the online Open Book Examination (OBE) till August 15. The exams were slated to commence from July 10.
The Delhi University during the hearing informed the court that the decision to postpone the exam was taken after a meeting of the High Powered Committee.
Following which a single-judge bench of the High Court presided by Justice Prathibha M. Singh transferred the batch of petitions to the two-judge bench after observing that the issue concerning the postponement of exams is already pending before a division bench of the court.
“The court deems it appropriate to place all these writs before the division bench which is ceased of the matter,” said the court.
The said division bench headed by Justice Hima Kohli, to which the matters have been transferred, had last week held that contempt proceedings should be initiated against the Delhi University and its officials for “misleading” the court by “withholding material information” over the issue of postponement of the said examination.
The court while hearing the matter through video conferencing, told the counsel for the University Grants Commission that the latest guidelines of the body have created “too much uncertainty across the nation.”
Responding to the same, Apurv Kurup, appearing for the UGC, said that the body has to look pan India and not just the Delhi University. “If they (DU) were not ready with it, they shouldn’t have gone ahead with it,” he submitted.
The arguments took place while the court was hearing a batch of petitions led by one Anup challenging the cancellation of the examinations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plea sought quashing and withdrawal of the notifications of May 14, May 30, and June 27, in respect of undergraduate and postgraduate students, including students of the School of Open Learning and Non-Collegiate Women Education Board.
Earlier in the day, the High Court had postponed the matter for the second half as some new petitions including one filed by NSUI Delhi chief Akshay Lakra, had come in but the said documents could not reach the court.
During the first half of the hearing, Advocate Sachin Dutta informed the court that after the revised guidelines of the UGC and MHRD, the varsity has planned to postpone the said online examinations.
We were willing to hold it, but the UGC guidelines came at the last moment,” Dutta submitted before a single-judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh.
Responding to the submissions, the bench said, “There was no binding on you to postpone these exams under these new guidelines.”
The petitioner submitted that many students are mailing them and telling them that they have admission procedures of foreign universities and the same would get canceled if they don’t submit their results by the end of July.
The court then said, “Do you (DU) see how you are playing with the future of the children?”
In his petition, Lakra sought quashing of the notifications regarding the OBE as well as the Examination Schedule issued by Respondent No 1 (DU).
“The Delhi University without following the procedure established by law unilaterally and arbitrarily decided to hold Online Open Book Exams for the students of Delhi University,” the plea filed by the NSUI Delhi President read.
He also alleged in his plea 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.
“The Respondent No 1 has unlawfully interfered in the sphere reserved exclusively for the expert bodies which derive their powers from the statutory provisions of the applicable laws,” Lakra said in his petition.