Wed, 30 Sep 2020

New Delhi [India], Aug 7 (ANI): Giving green signal to Delhi University for conducting online Open Book Examination (OBE) for final year students, the Delhi High Court asked the Varsity and Grievance Redressal Committee to submit a comprehensive report after holding OBE.

A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, in her 49-page order, said that at the end of the OBE examinations a comprehensive report of the conduct of examinations shall be submitted by DU within four weeks.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on September 22 saying it will hear various issues depending on the conduct of OBE examinations.

Among the issues, which court is likely to consider, relate to the privacy of students as well as issues relating to the storing of data collected in the OBE examinations.

The court has also said that upon the conclusion of the online OBE, the Grievance Redressal Committee shall also place on record its report.

DU has informed the court about the constitution of a committee for the purposes of redressing any grievances of students related to answer scripts received in PDF format.

The Grievance Redressal Committee shall deal with all the grievances of the students in respect of downloading of question papers, uploading of answer sheets, technical glitches, delays in uploading and any other issues faced by students during the conduct of the OBE examinations.

Allowing DU to go ahead with OBE, the court has also passed certain directions including one that the uploaded answer sheets of students shall also be simultaneously sent for evaluation to the respective teachers or faculty to ensure that declaration of results is not delayed in any manner.

"CSC Academy shall notify all its centres about the schedule of the online OBE by the end of day i.e., 7th August, 2020, so that the said centres can provide assistance to students to the best extent possible," the court said.

DU has informed the Court that though there are 91 colleges in DU, the online OBE is being conducted for students only in 64 colleges.

The list of nodal officers for all the 64 colleges including their mobile numbers and email addresses has been given to the Court. In addition, the list of Nodal Officers for SOL and NCWEB has also to be issued.

Both these lists shall be uploaded on the DU portal immediately and not later than August 8, 2020 by 6 pm. The details of all the nodal persons in the various departments/centres/faculty along with the mobile numbers and email addresses of 55 departments shall be uploaded on the DU portal by 6 pm on August 8, the court said.

Among other conditions are that the question papers shall be made accessible for regular for students on official portal and as well as to be sent by email to all the students. Regular students shall be given the complete three hours for answering the question papers.

Additionally, regular students will have one more hour for scanning the answer sheets and for uploading the same. Thus regular students would have a total period of four hours to complete the exam, scan and upload/email the answer sheets. Similarly, students under PWD category will also be given one additional hour for downloading the question paper, completing their answers and uploading the answer sheetsi.e., a total of six hours, the court said.

Those students who upload the answer sheets on the portal and who email the answer sheets to the central email addresses would receive an auto-generated reply of receiving.

DU shall ensure that the central email id as also the email ids of all the colleges and departments have adequate capacity to receive and store the answer sheets so that the emails sent by the students do not bounce back, the court said.

The court order came on petitions filed by several students including one Anupam challenging DU's decision to conduct online Open Book Examination.

They sought quashing and withdrawal of the DU notifications of May 14, May 30, and June 27 issued in respect of undergraduate and postgraduate students, including students of the School of Open Learning and Non-Collegiate Women Education Board.

The petition also sought directions to DU to evaluate the final year students based on the previous years' or semesters' results in the same manner as the respondent University has planned to promote the first and second-year students.

The matter was being heard from time to time in which DU has been represented by its senior counsel Sachin Dutta and lawyer Mohinder Rupal. Prof. Vinay Gupta, Dean (Examinations) and Sanjeev Singh, Joint Director, Delhi University Computer Centre have appeared before the Court from time to time.

UGC has been represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and counsel Apoorv Kurup.

The students and the intervenors are being represented by Akash Sinha and Shivankar Sharma. The court had directed the UGC to place on record the report of the Expert Committee headed by Professor Kuhad. The court also heard the submission of Dinesh Tyagi, CEO of CSC Academy, which is the entity under which the various Community Service Centres across the country are functioning.

UGC has said that the sanctity and credibility of examinations is very important, especially for final year students.

DU has submitted that the Task Force and the Working Group on Examinations, which were set up by DU, consisted of highly qualified academicians who have applied their minds, and after taking into consideration students' comments, took a decision that online OBE is the best method for evaluating students owing to COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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