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Deliberate with academic council on completing classes, holding exams: Delhi HC to JNU

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 04-02-2020 20:13 IST | Created: 04-02-2020 20:13 IST
Deliberate with academic council on completing classes, holding exams: Delhi HC to JNU

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked JNU to deliberate with its academic council on how to complete the classes for the monsoon semester, which was disrupted due to a students' agitation on campus, and conduct exams. Justice Rajiv Shakdher directed the varsity to place before the academic council the recommendations of boards of studies of its various schools and special centres on completing the classes and conducting exams.

He said the decision taken by the Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) academic council, after going through the recommendations of boards of studies, be filed before the court registry by February 7. The court said the recommendations of boards of studies should also be placed before it.

It was hearing pleas by several students and professors challenging the JNU's decision to hold online open-book or take-home exams for the monsoon semester. Two separate petitions have been filed by the professors and students, represented by senior advocate Ritin Rao.

They have challenged the varsity's decision to conduct end-semester examinations for the 2019 monsoon semester through an alternative mode of uploading question papers on the university's website or sending them to students by e-mail, and receiving answer sheets through e-mail and WhatsApp messages. The petitions, filed through advocates Samiksha Godiyal and Abhik Chimni, have also opposed a varsity circular directing the professors to commence course work for 2020 winter semester, saying the directions were issued on instructions of the vice chancellor (VC) in exercise of his extraordinary powers under the JNU Act and the Statutes of the University.

JNU counsel Harsh Ahuja told the court that out of 18 centres, eight have already conducted regular examinations. The court had earlier asked JNU what was the purpose of having online open-book or take-home exams if classes have not been held.

The petitioners have contended in their pleas that the VC does not have the power to allow such examinations when the entire curriculum had not been covered in various schools and special centres under the university. The petitions have contended that the circulars have been issued without consultation with the faculty members.

"The impugned circulars direct end-semester examinations to be conducted even though the coursework and syllabus for each course of the 2019 monsoon semester has remained incomplete on account of student agitations at the university. "The impugned circulars prescribe drastic changes in the pattern of end-semester examinations. They also permit registration of students for the next semester without completion of the academic requirements of the 2019 monsoon semester. These changes are illegal in the absence of approval of the Boards of Schools in duly convened meetings," it said.

The petitioners have sought quashing of the circulars, extension of the 2019 monsoon semester and direction to JNU to conduct classes, examinations and registration for each semester in strict compliance with the mandatory procedures. The court listed the matter for further hearing on February 10.


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