The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi University why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it and its officers for trying to mislead the court by withholding information on deferment of the online open-book exams. The exams, which were scheduled to start from July 1, have been deferred by another 10 days.
A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad was furious with the varsity for not informing it on June 26, the last date of hearing of a plea challenging the conduct of online exams, about the decision to defer the examinations.
The bench said it came to know about the same on June 27 from news reports while it was in the middle of dictating an order to dispose of the petition on the basis of the DU’s statement that it was geared up to commence exams from July 1.
The court said that once DU had told it that it was fully geared up for holding the examinations from July 1, any change in schedule ought to have been communicated to the bench.
The DU, in its defence, said the decision was taken after it came to know on June 26 at around 2.20 pm that the mother of its Deputy Registrar tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire family had to be quarantined.
Declining to accept the defense, the bench said the high court functions till 4.30 pm, and it could have been informed about the development the same day.
“If the stand of the respondent No.4/Delhi University is correct that because a family member of Deputy Registrar had gone down with COVID-19 and the University came to know that the entire family had to be quarantined only after the matter was over then there was enough time for Delhi University to have reverted back to this Court on the same day or at least the next morning and apprise us”. However, “this did not happen,” the court said.
The court said, “In view of the aforesaid conduct, we are prima facie of the opinion that contempt proceedings ought to be initiated against the Delhi University and its officers for withholding material information from the court and trying to mislead the court.”
It issued notice to the varsity and sought its stand as to why contempt of court proceedings not be initiated against it and listed the matter for hearing on July 6.
The petition had also sought that directions be issued to the Centre for setting up an effective mechanism for visually impaired and specially-abled persons 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.