- Apprentice Lawyer
125 students have moved the Karnataka High Court challenging the decision of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) to conduct end semester exams this year in offline mode.
The plea states that VTU issued a notification dated October 19 informing students that it proposed to conduct supplementary exams and first year exams online.
Subsequently, on December 9, VTU issued another notification mandating the conduct of end semester exams for all colleges across the State in offline mode.
In response, around 1,373 students wrote to the Vice-Chancellor of VTU highlighting the various difficulties that could crop up if exams were held offline.
It is the petitioners' case that the decision to conduct exams offline is completely arbitrary, impractical and fails to consider the various concerns of the students.
"That the decision to conduct exams offline is completely an afterthought and is an arbitrary decision, which totally fails to take into consideration the life threatening risks posed to the students. It is pertinent to note that many students have traveled their respective home towns. Several students are currently in abroad. Therefore, the conduct of the examination in an offline mode, will entail all these students to travel back to their college in Bangalore, which will be a huge threat to the life of thousands of students, teachers and their family members."
The plea further raises alarm over the fact that the December 9 notification was issued at a time when cases of the new variant of COVID-19 were reported in the country. As of now, there have been 3 cases in Bangalore, 2 in Pune and 1 in Hyderabad, says the plea.
In this light, the decision of VTU to conduct offline exams is violative of the right to health envisaged under Article 21 as well as Article 14, the students claim.
It is also contended that VTU failed to consider the fact that around 5 students studying at the MS Ramaiah College (one of the colleges affiliated to VTU) tested COVID-19 positive.
The petition further draws attention to the point that unlike a competitive exam, where a student will have to write an exam for a few hours in a day, the end semester exams are generally held for 2-3 weeks, as there are 12 subjects. During the said period, students will have to arrange for their own accommodation, food and travel. This has not been taken into account by VTU, laments the petitioners.
On these grounds, the plea seeks a direction to quash the December 9 notification of VTU and further to mandate the conduct the online exams for its students.