Delhi High Court Reprimands DU For Challenging The Reconstitution Of The Grievance Redressal Committee

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The Delhi University (DU) had filed a plea that challenged the order given by a single judge of the Delhi High Court for the reconstitution of the Grievance Redressal Committee. The plea stated that such a re-formulation was putting the reputation of the University at stake. It did not go down well with the Delhi High Court (HC). The Delhi HC, on Friday, criticized this move and stated that the reconstitution order neither encroaches upon DU’s rights nor reflects poorly on it.

However, after DU filed an appeal, the High Court did allow one member of the University’s preference, Professor SC Rai to be a member of the newly formulated committee. This order was passed by a bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad and Justice Hima Kohli.

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Justice Prathiba M Singh gave an order on August 7, which allowed DU to conduct the Open-Book Examinations (OBEs) and the reconstituted Grievance Redressal Committee to “ensure fairness and transparency.”

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This reconstituted five-membered committee comprises of retired Delhi High Court Judge Justice Pratibha Rani as the chairperson, Professor K S Rao, from the Botany Department as the deputy chairperson, senior advocate BB Gupta, advocate Kamal Gupta and Professor Kavita Sharma from the Commerce Department as members.

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As per the directions from the Delhi High Court, this committee would be responsible for dealing with all the grievances related to technical glitches, downloading question papers, uploading answer sheets among many others that were generally expected to be faced by the students during the OBEs.

On Friday, representing DU was senior advocate Sachin Datta, who argued that there seemed to be an assumption on the part of HC, that the old committee of DU would not be able to maintain transparency in the entire process. He also stated that there were members on the committee who were not even a part of the organization, questioning the integrity of the University. Hence, it should be allowed to function independently.

To this, the High Court responded that the committee took seven days to approach the Court. As a result, it had become inevitable for the High Court to intervene. There was no reason to feel threatened and absolutely no reason to be anxious in having a retired Delhi High Court Judge be part of the committee when there are people from the university as well.

The Delhi High Court also questioned the counsel regarding one of the email IDs of the University that was not functioning. To this, the DU counsel responded that although there was a problem initially, it was soon cleared up. He also stated that all emails are not for complaints, but queries as well.

Finally, that High Court stated that DU had come under scrutiny thrice for the OBEs, and only after that did they spring to action. After these arguments concluded, the Delhi High Court proposed that one member of the University’s choice who was a part of the old committee can become a part of the present one. The counsel proposed Professor Ajay Arora’s name. However, it was rejected, and the council was told to choose someone else who was not a part of tier one of the Grievance Cell, following which Professor SC Rai was chosen.

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Apoorva Iyer
Apoorva Iyer is a student of B.A Political Science (Hons.) at Deshbandhu College, Delhi University.

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