University Authorized to Choose Mode of Examinations: Delhi HC
5th July 2021, the Delhi High Court hearing four cases held that the respondent, Delhi University is authorized to choose the mode of examinations of intermediate semesters of the LL.B course and that the court cannot interfere in such policy decision of the University.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Prateek Jalan held:
“…the Court cannot give a mandatory direction to the University to conduct an assignment based evaluation rather than an online open book examination. The Expert Committee of the BCI has left this issue to the discretion of each University, having regard to the availability of resources and the impact of COVID-19 in the region…. the choice of mode of examination is one which the University is authorised to consider, and the University’s policy decision in this regard cannot be interfered with by the Court, unless it is shown to be arbitrary or manifestly unreasonable.”
Writ petitions were filed by 2nd year students and 3rd year students of the LL.B course of Faculty of Law, Delhi University before the Delhi High Court challenging the respondent University’s decision to hold online open-book examinations (OBEs) with respect to the second semester of the 2nd year students and fourth semester of the 3rd year students which could not be held earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petitioners relied on the UGC Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of COVID-I9 Pandemic and Subsequent Lockdown issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) by a notification dated 29th April 2020. The said guidelines stated that Universities could evaluate the intermediate semester students based on internal evaluation and performance in the previous semester.
The petitioner of the first writ petition further contended that an online open-book examination would be detrimental to the interests of students and therefore sought an assignment-based evaluation.
Contrarily, the respondent University relied on the various notifications issued by the Bar Council of India (BCI) whereby all the law colleges in India were directed to conduct examinations for the intermediate semester students as well.
Moreover, through a press release dated 10th June 2021, the Bar Council of India published the recommendations of its Expert Committee as per which it was made mandatory for all law schools and Universities to conduct end-term examinations, the mode of which could be decided by the University/ Centre of Legal Education.
The court considered the respondent University’s submissions that a special examination would be held in September 2021 to give an opportunity to candidates who could not take the examinations scheduled in July 2021 and that the exam dates would be set bearing in mind the LL.M entrance examination dates.
Additionally, the court directed that the University must make:
“all endeavours to declare the results as expeditiously as possible”.
In conclusion, the court refused to interfere in the policy matters of the university disposed of the petitions with directions.
- 1. Somaya Gupta & Ors. vs Faculty of Law, University of Delhi & Ors. (CWP no. 5664 of 2021)
- Shivangi Bhardwaj & Anr. vs University of Delhi & Anr. (CWP no. 5668 of 2021)
- Aditya Joshi & Ors. vs Faculty of Law, University of Delhi & Ors. (CWP no. 5745 of 2021)
- Sahib Kocchar & Ors. vs Faculty of Law & Ors. (CWP no. 6195 of 2020)
Ankitha Subramanya | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL