The three petitioner students Abhishek, Sharanjeet Kumar and Deepak, challenged the decision of the Delhi University, to conduct an online open-book examination, for the final year students for both the under graduate and post graduate courses. The exams are sought to start from July 1 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior advocates J P Sengh and advocate Ayushi Chugh represented the petitioner students. The students claimed that the mode of an online examination with an open book was arbitrary and unjustified. There is no way to find out who was cheating at the time of taking examinations, and who was not.
The petitioners contended the well-off students would be supported by their knowledgeable and intelligent parents, friends, gadgets and search engine platforms in the examination. The poor peer groups may not possess those facilities and systems to complete their exams, causing inequalities. The other problem is that those students who are living in rural areas, hilly areas, north east, etc. may face difficulties in getting access to an internet connectivity. The facility of the electricity is also an issue in this aspect. Several disadvantageous factors give rise to the dilemma for the disadvantaged students. The performance may be affected by these factors.
The petitioners study in different DU Universities. They have sought directions to the University to either withdraw the notification of May 14 or conduct the examination in halls by following social distancing norms. Social distancing would ensure curbed virus. Another option suggested was to promote the final year students on the basis of the previous year exams and the internal assessment.
Justice Jayant Nath issued a Notice to the University to file a response to this petition which claimed that only the economically advantageous students would get benefit from the online open book exams. It will perpetuate gaps and injustice. The Court listed the matter for further hearing on June 18.