The Delhi High Court on Thursday criticised Delhi University for filing a vague affidavit on the proposed mode of conducting examinations, along with the timetable and schedule, Live Law reported.

On Wednesday, the university told the High Court that it has decided to postpone after August 15 the open book examinations for final year undergraduate courses, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The exams were scheduled to begin on July 10.

On Thursday morning, DU hastily filed its affidavit before the court. However, the bench comprised of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad asked the university to file a detailed affidavit.

The court was examining a bunch of writ petitions students have filed against the Delhi University’s decision to hold open book exams, and postpone them beyond August 15. “Why have you [Delhi University] filed such a vague affidavit?” the court admonished the university. “Careers of thousands of students are at stake. UGC [University Grants Commission] and MHRD [Ministry of Human Resource Development] will not micromanage the universities, you need to formulate your own exam schedule.” The bench asked the university to be “candid” with the students.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the UGC, told the court that the body has directed all universities to conduct their examinations by the end of September. He added that according to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, universities are free to opt for either the online or the offline mode of conducting the examinations. However he added: “UGC has not permitted the option of promoting the final year students on the basis of assignment or internal assessment.”

Advocate Sachin Dutta, appearing for Delhi University, said the varsity will come up with a detailed exam schedule in a couple of days and sought time to file the fresh affidavit. The court directed DU to file the affidavit, along with the date sheet and exam schedule, by July 13.

During a hearing by a single-judge bench of Justice Pratibha Singh on Wednesday, the court had expressed displeasure over DU’s decision to hold exams after August 15, accusing it of “playing with the lives of students”.

During Thursday’s hearing, the petitioners told the bench that open book exams were not a good idea due to technical glitches, and lack of access to computers and internet for many students. The petitioners argued that postponement of exams will make students unable to apply for jobs in public sector undertakings, for which the application deadline is July 31. They also said that postponement will adversely affect the chances of students who want to study abroad. The petitioners said some students have exhibited mental trauma as a result of the uncertainty over the exams.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on July 14.