New Delhi: The final year undergraduate and postgraduate visually impaired students of Delhi University have been asked by the Delhi High Court to endeavor to sit for the online open-book examinations.
The High Court has said that any assistive device or the cost of any book bought for the purpose of examination will be reimbursed by the University up to Rs 2 lakh.
It has been directed by the bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Asha Menon that when the second round of open-book exams will be held, the visually impaired students will be allowed to appear in the exam even if they have already appeared for the first one.
These students will get a chance to improve their marks in this way. According to DU, the second round of open-book exams will be held in September. The first round of examinations will begin on July 2.
Several directions, along with this, was issued by the court while hearing a plea issued by the National Federation of the Blind. The organization had challenged the University’s decision to conduct online exams in an open book system.
In their plea, they had mentioned that it violated the rights of those students who are visually impaired and other disabilities.
The Federation had asked Delhi University to assess the performance of the disabled students of the final year based on their performance in the previous semester and internal assessment.
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The Federation also suggested an alternative- to conduct offline exams of such students once the colleges reopen.
The bench has directed the DU, UGC, and Center to file their replies to the petition in its order of June 17. The matter has been listed for further hearing on July 13. The replies are to be filed before the next date.
The High Court has also directed that the visually impaired students can approach their institutions and colleges for any assistance. This can include the provision of reading material/books in assistive devices and in a form that is accessible.
If any such student reaches out to their college/institution, the college/institution is directed to supply the reading material to the students.
The High Court has also said that if any student approaches the University for a scribe, the University must make best efforts to provide the student with a scribe.
The Court also cleared that only because a visually impaired student has appeared for the OBE, it does not debar them from the relief, if granted ultimately, to be assessed on the basis of their past performances or internal assessment.
The High Court also added that if any visually impaired student is denied assistance from the said college/institute, such student may contact Prof. Vinay Gupta, Dean (Examination) of Delhi University.
On an earlier occasion, the Court had said that it will not interfere with the decision of the University to conduct OBE.
This is because the University has also decided to hold physical offline exams once the COVID-19 situation improves. These exams will be conducted for those students who will not be able to participate in the July 1 examinations.