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PWD DU Students Can Write Offline Exams In September: Delhi HC

Delhi High Court has given nod to allowing PWD students to take offline exams from September 14. It has asked the Railway Ministry to overlook transportation and concession for travel.

On 27th August 2020, The University of Delhi (DU)  informed the Delhi High Court (HC) that final year PWD students could write their exams offline. This option would be available to all PWD students irrespective of having taken online exams before or not.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) had earlier moved Delhi HC against Open Book Examinations (OBE) for PWD students. However, the university had then proceeded with its decision by giving one hour extra to PWD students.

In such an uncertain situation, the conduct of examination through an open book would risk the health of students in general. In addition, blind and other disabled students are more vulnerable. The federation even conducted a survey where about 150 blind students expressed their inability to appear for the online examination.

R K Rungta, General Secretary (NFB) in June 2020 as reported by the Times of India

However, the decision of holding offline exams came as a relief to the PWD students who couldn’t take their OBE exams. The left out students will be able to appear in physical examinations, supposed to be held from September 14. The Open Book Examinations (OBE) for final year students began on 10th August 2020 and are expected to conclude on 31st August 2020.

With regards to the decision, the Delhi High Court asked the Ministry of Railways to arrange travel means for disabled students from remote areas to Delhi for smooth conduction of exams.

The HC was hearing the pleas by law student Prateek Sharma and National Federation of Blind. They were seeking to devise appropriate methods for PWD students to impart educational instructions and deliver teaching material via online media.

Senior advocate S K Rungta, appearing for petitioner National Federation of Blind, said the court may see if the central government or DU can bear the cost of transportation of students and he will provide them food and accommodation. As reported by Times Now News.

The HC has further asked Mr Rungta if the benefit of PWD Act could be extended to these students to that extent, to which Rungta answered in affirmative that it could be done during a disaster. It was stated in the court that these students came from remote regions in-country including states like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand etc. Thus, the court also brought forth the issue of reservation as there was only one train coming from some of the aforementioned areas.

Senior advocate Sachin Dutta, representing the DU, said the figures will show that 90 per cent students in the PWD category have appeared in the online OBE. Rungta claimed that DU does not have the data of PWD students and according to his information about 222 confirmed VI students are there who did not sit for online OBE. As reported by Times Now News.

However, NFB refuted the claim saying that many students weren’t able to appear for OBE. The Court has thus asked NFB to prepare a list of students who couldn’t take exams. It has also asked railways to take care of concession in the ticket price. Besides that, DU informed the court that results of students who appeared for online OBE will be hopefully declared by the end of October.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Navneet Kaur