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State how remaining classes can be held: HC to JNU

By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2020 09:42 PM IST

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Board of Studies of each school at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the special centres to convene within two days a meeting and recommend how the remaining classes of monsoon semester can be held and how the exams can be conducted. It also wanted to know the purpose for holding the online exams when the classes have not been held.

“The Board of Studies will proffer their recommendations concerning the monsoon semester which will be placed before this court prior to the next date of hearing. A copy of the same will be furnished to Pinky Anand, Additional Solicitor General (ASG), appearing for JNU, by Monday, i.e February 3,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said.

The court was hearing a plea by several students and teachers filed through advocates Samiksha Godiyal and Abhik Chimni, who had challenged JNU’s decision to hold the online exams for the end semester. The varsity had taken the decision after it could not conduct the examination amid a students’ strike against the hostel fee hike.

Atul Sood, a professor at JNU and one of the petitioners, said, “The university administration has no power to decide on any academic issue without consulting with the Board of Studies of each school. The board includes all the professors of a particular school and some associate professor on rotation. We had challenged in the court when the vice-chancellor had taken a unilateral decision of taking exams through alternate mode.”

On Wednesday, appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Ritin Rai, opposed the varsity’s circular directing the professors to commence course work for the 2020 winter semester, saying the directions were issued on instructions of the V-C in exercise of his extraordinary powers under the JNU Act and the Statutes of the University.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand said the University was willing to conduct extra classes. However, to go through entire process of holding exams from the start would lead to a waste of time as the winter session has already commenced, the ASG, who appeared for JNU, told the court.

The court, during the hearing, sought to know the purpose of having an online open book or take home exams if classes have not been held.

“Classes were not held. So what was the purpose of having exams if the students were not instructed? Purpose of exams is to evaluate what the students have learned.” the court said.

It asked the Board to forward its recommendations to JNU’s academic council and to place a copy before the court prior to the next date of hearing on February 4.

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