Implement Online Digital Evaluation System: Karnataka HC to State Universities
19th April 2021, the Karnataka High Court in Sri Madhukeshwar vs the Deputy Secretary (University) — WP no. 11578 of 2020 — directed the State Government to ensure implementation of the Online Digital Evaluation System (ODES) by all Universities in the State, from the academic year 2021-22 onwards.
On 15th June 2019, the Karnataka Government issued an order mandating all the Universities in the State to adopt ODES developed by the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) from the academic year 2019 onwards. However, only one University i.e., Bangalore University complied to the order.
Sri Madhukeshwar, a practicing advocate and a part-time lecturer, relying on this order, filed a writ petition before the Karnataka HC seeking a direction for the respondent to ensure all Universities comply with it and adopt ODES.
The petitioner further related the observation that the Universities in the State were outsourcing examination-related activities to private contractors resulting in the weakening of the system and causing unnecessary delay. The Chief Minister of Karnataka, in the budget speech dated 8th February 2019 stressed the concept of online teaching and exam system following which the said order was issued.
The respondent argued that the State Government and its departments have been busy attending to the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore the said order could not be complied with. Further, it was submitted that examinations all over the State had not been conducted in a conventional way since the last academic year.
Studying contentions of both the parties, the Division Bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice J M Khazi directed:
“…state and its department to mandate the state universities to implement government order dated 15/06/2019, in its true letter and spirit from academic year 2021-22 onwards, so that online digital evaluation system, which has been evolved by the state is implemented and put into practise, so that its benefits could be brought out in the interest of student community and interest of academics and higher education in general.”
In conclusion, the Karnataka High Court allowed the writ petition and directed the State Government to mandate all the Universities in the State to implement the Online Digital Evaluation System (ODES) from the academic year 2021-22 onwards.
Ankitha Subramanya | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL