Letter addressed to the CJ of the Delhi HC to appeal against the recent MHRD and UGC notification
News Article- Covered by Aniket Dutta and Edited by Mandavi Banerjee
The letter was written by a budding young law student, Aastha Khanna, from Law Faculty, University of Delhi. She had written the letter to the Hon'ble Chief Justice of Delhi High Court regarding MHA and UGC notification for compulsorily conducting exams for terminal semester students by the end of September 2020.
The letter dated 8th of July 2020 was to the Ministry of Home Affairs (‘MHA’) vide notification dated 6th July 2020 permitted the conduct of exams by Universities and Institutions and ordered the Universities to compulsorily conduct the examination of final year students as per UGC guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. These guidelines for compulsory examination of final year/terminal semester students are in flagrant violation of the fundamental rights and moral values as they fail to take into consideration the infrastructural disparities and insurmountable torment faced by students from economically backward class due to lack of facilities.
Many incidents were reported where students took their own lives due to the incapability of coping up with the online curriculum. But on the brighter side, when the idea of the online evaluation was initiated, many universities and colleges refused to conduct exams citing lack of infrastructure and provide relaxation to students. States such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, inter alia, cancelled exams for students from all semesters owing to the increasing cases of Coronavirus. This was done so as to lessen the burden for those who could not access such resources. However, the revised order implies that these States will now be forced to change their stand.
What we must ask ourselves is: In a country like ours, where more than half of the population struggles to arrange two square meals for themselves, where the migrant workers had to starve and walk barefoot to their hometowns, where people do not have a proper electricity supply, where people in some parts of the country do not have access to internet service with reasonable speed and quality, how can the government issue guidelines based on its blatant assumption that all students have access to smartphones, laptops, personal computers, books etc? Are we just a land of affluent urban class people having unlimited access to all the facilities required to ‘graduate’? Once we get the answers to those questions, the solution will also become obvious for the ongoing conflict of interest scenario.
Amidst such grave times, this letter hopes that the court will take steps to serve the interests of all the stakeholders regardless of their social or economic disabilities, by adopting an alternative model of examination and prevent the situation from culminating into an implicit acceptance of social injustice and upheld the values enshrined in the ever so reverential Constitution of India.