Careers at stake, how can you be so slow: HC to DU over CSCs

new delhi: The Delhi High Courton Tuesday again rapped the Delhi University for its lack of preparedness to conduct final year examinations through the online open-book exam (OBE) mode, specifically noting that the arrangement of required facilities for differently-abled students appearing in the exams was yet to be planned for.

When the high court sought to know how many students in the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) category would be appearing in the examinations, slated to begin from August 10, through the Common Service Centres (CSC) set up nationwide, the varsity was unable to respond and sought more time to get details.

In a different hearing on Monday, Justice Pratibha M Singh had hauled up the university for being unable to provide a full list of students who are set to use the CSC service to appear for their final year exams due to a lack of infrastructure in their home.

In Tuesday's hearing, a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad also took note of DU's unpreparedness. It said, "This is how you are concerned for the career of PwD students who have to appear for final year exams. Thanks to UGC's own guidelines which makes it mandatory to conduct examinations for final year students. We are aware that the challenge to UGC guidelines is before the Supreme Court. But we will surely ask questions about your preparedness for the exams."

The court was hearing pleas by law student Prateek Sharma and the National Federation of Blind (NFB).

Significantly, during the hearing, Senior advocate R S Rhungta, appearing for NFB, said around 200 visually challenged students have not participated in the mock tests as reading material was not provided to them. He said when colleges were informed about the need for writing scribes, one of the principals said they were not able to provide scribe as it was not possible to give scribe during a pandemic without knowing the student's health status.

"I am sure DU is cognisant of the fact that the career of students is at stake, how can you be so slow," Justice Kohli asked the university. The high court further sought to know whether the claim of petitioners that PwD students are not being given reading material, assistant devices and writing scribes, is true.

The court noted that neither the HRD Ministry nor the IT Ministry had mentioned the number of non-functional centres in the country and that the DU had also not filed its reply in the matter despite the court asking it to do so.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Sharma, submitted that as per the varsity's guidelines, scribes should be given to the student before the exams to know the suitability. Sibal argued that many students reside in remote places where CSCs are not available and hence the court must know of the availability of the same.

Justice Pratibha M Singh has already sought a detailed report on CSCs in a different matter and the court on Tuesday asked the CSC Academy to appear before it on July 30 to submit detailed logistics of these centres and where they are located.

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