The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday asked the Visvesaraya Technical University (VTU) to respond by tomorrow on why online examinations cannot be held when the viva was done online.
A bench of Jusitce Sunil Datt Yadav also asked the VTU to place on record the reasonable gap for conducting special exams. The University will have to respond as to the time within which the second chance will be accorded to students.
Further, the bench asked the State Government to clarify the relaxations in quarantine requirements of students.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by students of Bangalore Institute of Technology seeking the option of exams through online mode as well.
Advocate Bhargav Bhat, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the VTU held viva through online mode.
"If you can do one exam online, it is not fair to say that you cannot do written exams online", he said.
He added that many universities like Christ, NLSIU etc conducted online exams, and VTU cannot claim difficulties in following the same path, especially so being a 'technical university'.
"Unprecedented situation needs creative solutions", Bhat said.
The bench suggested that the University should provide the options of online and offline exams.
"They are not seeking for postponement; they are only seeking for online option for exams", the judge told the counsel for VTU.
"You will have to respond. Place it in witting why exams cannot be done online when viva is being done online", the bench told the VTU.
In the morning, the bench had asked the counsel of VTU to get instructions by 1.30 PM as to whether online option can be given for exams.
In the afternoon, the VTU told the bench that at this moment, it was not feasible for it to offer online exams.
When the bench pointed out that the UGC guidelines provide for the online option, the UGC's counsel replied that the guidelines are advisory in nature and University has to chart out its own rules.
During the morning session, the petitioners' counsel pointed out that the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Human Resources Development provide for the option of online exams.
"Not once VTU has said why it has decided to hold offline exams only. The current situation in Karnataka is not conducive. Travel is a problem, stay is a problem. 14-day home quarantine is mandated", Bhatt submitted.
The counsel for VTU cited practical difficulties in holding online exams.
"There are 70,000 students who will be appearing for exams and around 1 lakh students who have backlog will be appearing. The first issue will be the distribution of exam papers. Second will be who will monitor the students who opted for online exams", he submitted.
Bhatt sought to counter these submissions by saying that 95% of the students took internal exams via online mode only.