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DU Open Book Examination- Delhi HC

Delhi HC issues notice to Pro Vice Chancellor on failure to operationalize the Grievance Redressal Mechanism

 

ANUPAM & ORS. V. UNIVERSITY OF DELHI THROUGH ITS REGISTRAR & ORS. W.P. (C) 3946/2020, August 13, 2020.

Hon’ble Justice Prathiba M. Singh of Delhi High Court passed the order and issued notice to the Pro Vice Chancellor Prof PC Josh of Delhi University in an application claiming that the DU has not taken any steps to operationalize Grievance Redressal Committee, violating the previous court order.

The Court has perused the application and has also heard the members of the Grievance Redressal Committee i.e., Mr. B. B. Gupta, Senior Advocate and Mr. Kamal Gupta, Advocate. It is submitted by both of them that after the order passed on 7th August, 2020, neither the University of Delhi (hereinafter, “DU”) nor its officials have cooperated with the Chairperson and the other members of the Committee. In fact, the contact details of other two members of the Committee who are faculty members of DU have also not been given to the Chairperson. Passwords for the grievance emails have also not been shared. No meeting has been arranged and all the activities are being conducted without consulting the Chairperson or any independent members of the Committee. There has therefore been complete non-cooperation by the DU officials and the Committee is being by-passed.

It is also pointed out that one of the members of the Committee i.e., Professor K. S. Rao has made a statement in the media about grievances being received from students. It is further submitted that one of the grievance email addresses is, in fact, not working and the emails addressed thereto bounce back. As the mobile numbers of the Committee were contained in the order dated 7th August, 2020, a large number of students have sent their grievances directly to them. The counsels have apprised the Court that they informed the counsel for DU about listing of the application.

A perusal of the  directions shows that the DU had to take various steps to redress the grievances of students. A Grievance Redressal Committee consisting of three independent members and two faculty members of the DU was also constituted. The averments made in the application and the submissions made today shows that no steps have been taken whatsoever for ensuring that the grievance redressal mechanism is operational. The OBE examinations have commenced on 10th August 2020. Students are expressing several grievances which need to be addressed. The working of the Grievance Redressal Committee which is to look into the grievances of students giving the Online Open Book examinations (OBE) currently underway, cannot be permitted to be hampered in this manner. Clearly, there is complete non-compliance of the order passed by this Court on 7th August, 2020.

Under these circumstances, let notice of this application be issued to DU through Counsel. Professor P. C. Joshi, Pro-Vice Chancellor, DU to join the video-conferencing hearing tomorrow i.e. 14th August, 2020 at 2:30 pm. Professor K. S. Rao, Deputy Chairperson of the Grievance Redressal Committee shall also join the hearing tomorrow. Counsels for the MHRD and the UGC shall also ensure that one of their senior officials participates in the hearing tomorrow.

In future, if the members of the Grievance Redressal Committee wish to file an application or place any report before this Court, affidavits in support thereof shall not be insisted upon by the Registry.

– Karthik K.P (School of Law, SASTRA Deemed University)

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