22/07/2020 3:52 PM IST | Updated 24/07/2020 12:24 PM IST

DU Exams 2020: Lawyer's Computer Hangs During HC Hearing On Online Exams

Justice Prathiba Singh, who was hearing the petition, said it was impractical to have timed online exams.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NSUI workers are detained after a protest demanding the cancellation of final year exams and promotion of students on the basis of past performance, outside HRD Ministry at Shastri Bhawan, on July 21, 2020 in New Delhi.

The Delhi University counsel’s computer hung at exactly the wrong time during the Delhi High Court hearing on the petition challenging the varsity’s decision to conduct online Open Book Exam for its final year students, LiveLaw reported.

The court was considering the question of internet access, pointing out that the University’s brochure had said the exams required 4G connectivity, Bar&Bench reported.

Justice Prathiba Singh, who was hearing the petition, said it was impractical to have timed online exams. “We judges at the heart of Delhi also face connection issues, one can only imagine what will happen to students in remote areas,” the court said, LiveLaw quoted.

LiveLawreported that the court read out a student’s grievance over not being able to use 2G connection to write the exam. The petitioner also pointed out that areas like Jammu and Kashmir did not have 3G connection.

This is when the DU counsel’s computer began to give him trouble, an issue the court seized upon to make its point.

The counsel claimed students did not need uninterrupted internet access, just enough to download question paper and upload their answer sheets.

As DU was grilled on the ease of holding these exams online, it said the question papers would be sent to each student on email, Bar&Bench reported.

The court said the university could not give an assurance that Online Book Exam would work for all students.

While DU said that it was working against various odds to hold the final exams, the court questioned how other universities across the country and the world had held their exams.

The court asked the UGC to produce the report prepared by the Kuhad Committee in a sealed cover and will hear the matter again on Friday, July 24.

UGC had made guidelines on final year examination in colleges and universities based on the report by the committee which had been tasked with assessing the situation on ground.

In court on Wednesday, the UGC said: “We’re clear that internal assessment can’t be accepted as a mode of evaluation for final year students. The sanctity of exams will come into question in ‘take home assignment’ mode for conducting exams. We’re worried about the possibility of cheating in this mode.”

The court said the UGC could not assume students would cheat and said it needed to look at a mode of exam that worked for the whole country.

“ICMR itself says that virus is going to peak in November, so how will conduct offline exams then?” the bench asked.

The Delhi University’s current exam schedule plans for offline exams in September for students unable to write the online ones.

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