Thursday, 30 Jul 2020

DU’s Responsibility To Provide Scribes To Visually Impaired Students For Online Exams: HC

DU's Responsibility To Provide Scribes To Visually Impaired Students For Online Exams: HC


The Delhi High Court Thursday made it clear that it is the responsibility of Delhi University to make available scribes for visually impaired students or else the process of online Open Book Examinations (OBE) for final year undergraduate courses would be a “mockery” for them.


A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad directed the Delhi University (DU) to clarify the position on arrangement of scribes for students in persons with disability (PwD) category by the next date of hearing on August 5.

While the varsity maintained that scribes will be made available to visually impaired students by the CSE Centers, which have been set up to provide services to students who do not have infrastructure to give OBE, the CEO of CSE Academy clarified that it was not their duty to arrange for scribes and they do not have such writers at the centers.

“There is complete mismatch of statements made by the two sides. There is complete contradiction. Why are you (DU) giving wrong hope to students that everything is available at CSE centers. Why are you misrepresenting them,” the bench, which was conducting the proceedings through video conferencing, said.

The bench added, “It is quite clear that it is the responsibility of DU to make available scribes for visually handicapped students otherwise the whole process of online OBE would be a mockery for the said students.”

Senior advocate Sachin Dutta, representing the Delhi university, said it was not mandatory for the students to appear in online OBE and they can give the physical exams later in September. It is only in the interest of students that the online exams are being conducted, he added.

To this, the bench said the university was closing PwD students’ right to appear through the online mode by not providing them proper facilities including scribes.

The high court was hearing pleas by law student Prateek Sharma and National Federation of Blind seeking to set up effective mechanisms for visually impaired and specially-abled students so that educational instructions can be transmitted to them properly and teaching material is provided to them through online mode of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high court had earlier questioned the DU of its lack of preparedness and facilities, including arrangement of scribes and CSE Centers, for differently abled students to enable them to appear in the online OBE Open Book Examinations.