The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the Delhi University to make its stand clear that the date sheet for Open Book Examinations (OBE) for final year under-graduate courses, which are scheduled to commence from July 10, will not be changed.

The high court was informed by the Dean of Examinations, DU, that he will apprise it on Wednesday after holding discussions with the higher authorities.

Justice Prathiba Singh, who was conducting the hearing through video conferencing, listed the matter for July 8.

The high court was hearing a petition by several students of the final year of Delhi University (DU) seeking quashing and withdrawal of the notifications of May 14, May 30 and June 27 in respect of conduction of online exams for undergraduate and postgraduate students, including students of the School of Open Learning and Non-Collegiate Women Education Board.

As an alternative prayer, it also sought to direct DU to evaluate the final year students based on the previous years’ or semesters’ results in the same manner as the university has planned to promote the first and second year students.

During the hearing, Dean of Examinations, Professor Vinay Gupta said the date sheets have already been uploaded on the website and in the online exams, in case the varsity’s portal is not accessible, question papers will be emailed to the students.

If the students are unable to upload the answer sheets due to technical snag, they can also email it to the university and the window will be open for 30 minutes after the exams time is over, he said.

After 30 minutes, a committee will examine the technical glitch and decide whether to accept the answer sheets or not, he added.

In pursuance to the court’s direction, Gupta informed that there are around 2.45 lakh students who are studying in the final year of the varsity, out of which 1.86 lakh belongs to Delhi and 59,000 students are from outside the national capital. He said 1.58 lakh students have till now registered for OBE. Meanwhile, University Grants Commission (UGC) submitted that it was concerned about the physical and mental health of the students while balancing them with their academic careers.

The counsel for UGC said a meeting was conducted on Monday and revised guidelines have been published in which it was clarified that final term examinations are to be compulsorily conducted by all the universities.

It has said guidelines are advisory in nature and varsities may chalk out own plan taking into consideration issues pertaining to COVID-19 pandemic.

Delhi University also told the court that since the current situation is extraordinary, they can give a tentative schedule, according to which exams will be completed by August 4 and thereafter evaluation of papers would begin and be continued till mid of September and results are likely to be declared before the first week of October.

The petitioners counsel highlighted technical issues and chances of impersonations during the online exams.

The counsel for DU said the students are responsible to maintain confidentiality on the login id and password. In case, some issues occur due to technical reasons, the varsity has allowed the student to mail the answer paper.

The high court on Monday had directed the UGC and Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to clarify their stand as to whether they recommend cancellation of final year examinations in all the universities across the country due to COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The high court had noted that several students may have already obtained employment and may be compelled to report to their jobs and others may be scheduled to pursue post graduate studies in India and abroad.

It had said administrative authorities who are in-charge of conducting examinations in universities, including the UGC and the Central Government, ought to also bear in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in enormous mental distress and agony to students.