While declining the prayer of the petitioners to conduct their examination through on-line mode, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Monday (08th February) observed that "there cannot be any vested right for the students with regard to the mode in which the examination of students is to be conducted."
The Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar was hearing a plea of students (2nd year law students) seeking direction to the University of Kashmir to conduct the online examination of intermediary law students of 4th semester expeditiously on the basis of guidelines/decisions taken by the UGC and the BCI so as to save the career of the students.
Arguments put forth
The petitioners were aggrieved of notice dated 19th October, 2020 issued by University of Kashmir whereby they have been asked to appear in the examination through offline mode after physical opening of the University.
According to the petitioners, the mode of conducting of examination for them should be online as similar mode has been adopted by the other Universities as also in case of other faculties of University of Kashmir.
It was submitted that most of the law students enrolled in the Kashmir University and other affiliated Colleges in Kashmir are from far flung areas of Kashmir and it is not possible for them in this global pandemic to risk their lives to come to Srinagar and sit in the examination.
In short, the petitioners sought a direction to the respondent-University of Kashmir to conduct their examination for various semesters of LLB course through online mode only.
Noting that University of Kashmir is right in submitting that after the filing of the instant petition, certain developments have taken place that have changed the whole scenario, the Court said,
"In view of these developments, insistence on a particular mode of examination may not be available to the petitioners."
The Court also noted that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has issued the latest guidelines/instructions on Covid containment measures in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir effective from 01st February 2021.
"In view of the aforesaid guidelines, all the Educational Institutions in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir have been reopened and the students are physically attending their respective Educational Institutions", remarked the Court.
Importantly, the Court said,
"In the face of this development, conducting of examination of the petitioners through physical mode is permissible, therefore, they cannot insist on conduct of their examination through online mode... the petitioners cannot claim that their examination should be conducted through online mode."
For the foregoing reasons, the Court did not find any justification in the relief sought by the petitioners so far as the same relates to insistence on online mode of examination.
Lastly, the Court noted that valuable time of the petitioners has been lost and they have lagged behind in their normal course of studies and thus, the Court directed,
"(University of Kashmir) is expected to address the concern of the petitioners and other students regarding the delay in completion of the course with all sensitivity and seriousness."
Accordingly, while declining the prayer of the petitioners to conduct their examination through on-line mode, a direction was issued to University of Kashmir to immediately conduct the examination of intermediary and 4th Semester law students within the current month only and further complete the 5th semester course of the petitioners expeditiously so that there is no delay in completing the said course.
Case title - Syed Ainain Qadri v. UGC and ors [WP (C) 1903/2020 CM Nos. 5808/2020, 6460/2020, 6461/2020]