The Delhi High Court on Wednesday heard a petition against the conduct of open book examinations for the final year students by the Delhi University (DU). The petition was filed against DU’s decision of conducting exams during coronavirus pandemic.

Conducted under the administration of Justice Pratibha Singh, the petitions challenged UGC’s command to universities which made it mandatory for that all the universities conduct final year exams before the end of September. The advocate of the petitioner challenged the manner of the conduction of exams while UGC said that promoting students based on their past performance is not an option.

On being asked to give assignments to the students online, UGC said that it has no issue with giving assignments to the students as long as sanctity is maintained. However, but when students take assignments home, sanctity is barely maintained.

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The High Court said that students, who have to cheat, will cheat even in the long duration exams and asked UGC if they can allow the students to come to Delhi at a situation when the ICMR is saying that the coronavirus situation will be its peak in  November. The petitioner also pointed out that the traditional way of taking exams consumes a lot of time. Many colleges have opted for MCQs as a creative mode of conducting exams. He emphasised that OBE is prima facie troublesome.

UGC said that MCQs are allowed and the division bench is also making a schedule. For Delhi University, UGC said that it never directed DU to delay its exams. Neither can it decide if DU wants to conduct MCQs or not as it’s completely up to DU.

Intervenor informed the court that a survey among 232 students was conducted where 149 students opted a presentation and assignment based exam, while 28 favoured OMR based exam. But the majority opted for exams in August itself. They were against timed examination. The intervenor told that these students have yet not heard from the grievance officer since the survey.

The court also addressed the problems students might face during timed exams due to power cuts. Now, UGC has been asked to consider whether the options of MCQs, assignments and presentations can be made available for the final year students. The court also acknowledged that DU has not helped its students. UGC will clarify the guidelines on final year exam conduction soon. The matter will be further heard on Friday at 2.15 p.m.

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