Karnataka HC hears plea challenging UGC guidelines, final year exams

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The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday heard a plea challenging the UGC guidelines mandating the conduct of final year exams. The petition was filed by students of Bangalore Institute of Technology. The matter was heard by Justice Sunil Dutt Yadav. Last week, the Court had given a notice in the matter.

High Court began its hearing on Wednesday at 11.00 am.

 Petitioners’ advocate said that he is only pressuring for alternative relief as the main matter is currently before Supreme Court. Advocate Bhargav Bhat contended that he seeks only for conduct the exams via online mode.

Bench asked about the opinion of UGC on this point.

Advocate Bhat pointed out that Union Ministry of Human Resources guidelines for conduct of examinations. UGC has only said conduct of exams but it is up to each University on how to conduct it, many factors have to be considered.

Bhat rised a question on VTU has not said why it has decided to hold offline exams. Moreover, the situation in Karnataka is really bad. Travel, stay are issues of concern. I will lose my chance for job, further studies etc. Therefore, conducting online exams in addition to offline should be made an option.

The university will have to try to conduct the offline and online mode examinations, the Karnataka HC said.

VTU Counsel stated that 70,000 students will be appearing for exam and 1 Lakh for backlog papers. Issue of distributing question paper is primary. Second issue is – Who will monitor these students opted for online exams.

Bench inquired that could you conduct online and physical exams simultaneously.

 VTU Counsel responded that the University will conduct exams in the month of November and December. While, it is not possible for the University to conduct online examination. It is not technically feasible for us.

High Court stated that UGC Guidelines itself provides for online exams. Even in Nov-Dec, we don’t know how the situation will be.

UGC Counsel highlighted that guidelines are provided for online, offline and blended mode. It is only advisory in nature. University has to chart out it’s own rules.

Bench advised that there is a need to be flexible. University must step up and offer both options of online and offline mode of examination.

Bhat submitted a proof of Internal exams report which were conducted via online mode for 95% of the students.

Further he added that, this is a technical University, to come forward and say that they don’t have facilities, is not fair.

Bench noted that they are not seeking for the postponement but for online mode.

Bhat explained that NLS, Christ, etc have done it online. Creative solutions must be come up with. This is not ideal but considering the unprecedented situation, creative solutions are important. He asked his doubt that Even viva voce is conducted online. If they can conduct one exam via online, then what about other exams.

Bhat mentioned that he could give 5-6 platforms used by other colleges for conducting online exams

Bench asked two questions to VTU

1) Why online exams cannot be considered when viva is done online?

2) Reasonable Time limit for conducting special exams

These have to be placed on record.

VTU Counsel replied that we would take instructions. It may be posted for tomorrow.

Bench insisted the VTU that instructions from State Govt on relaxation of quarantine regulations for student.

Bench asked the State Government that could there be relaxation of Quarantine rules for students coming from other states and also conduct Rapid Antigen Tests for all writing exams.

And the next hearing will be on tomorrow, August 13.

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