SFLC.in has written to the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of Kurukshetra University to reconsider conducting online exams during the period of state-imposed internet shutdown and postpone/reschedule the exams for when the Internet shutdown is lifted by the State.
The Controller of examinations, KU, Hukam Singh had stated that, "The students of the university’s UG and PG courses, who are from the areas where Internet services are yet to be restored, can appear in online examinations by arranging Internet like broadband or Wi-Fi at their own level. Otherwise, they can physically appear in the examinations at the examination centre mentioned on their admit cards.” (as reported by The Tribune on 8th September, can be accessed here)
According to a series of orders released by the Haryana Government, Internet services were in 5 districts namely Karnal, Kaithal, Jind, Kurukshetra, and Panipat to maintain law and order situation in the State owning to Farmers protests from 12 Midnight on 07.09.2021 for 24 hours. The Internet ban was extended in the Karnal district for 2 subsequent days ending on 9th September'2021.
Considering that the order of Internet suspension has been ordered by the State Government, forcing students to arrange for Broadband Internet where more than 95% of Internet users are mobile Internet users is depriving the majority of the students from their right to appear in examinations. A vast majority of the students cannot arrange for broadband services in a span of 24 hours. The other alternative provided by the University is for students to appear in these examinations physically, which is an unreasonable burden during the COVID-19 pandemic. It must be noted that in the matter of Rasoolshan A v The Additional Chief Secretary and others [SLP(c) 13570/2021], the Supreme Court of India stayed the physical exams to be conducted by Kerala Government for 11th Standard students. The reason stated was that students cannot be exposed to the risk of Covid-19.
Through our letter we requested the University authorities to reconsider conducting online exams during the period of state imposed internet shutdown and postpone/reschedule the exams for when the Internet shutdown is lifted by the State. It is the responsibility of the University to ensure that each student gets a fair opportunity to appear for examinations, no student should be deprived of opportunity because of a State imposed internet ban.
SFLC.in had earlier written a letter to Haryana Government requesting them to reconsider shutting down the Internet in 5 districts in Haryana. The Letter can be read here.
A Writ Petition was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier in the year on 01-02-2021 against the shutdown imposed by the Haryana Government since 27th January 2021. SFLC.in had assisted in this matter. It had started with the internet being suspended in Jhajjhar, Sonipat and Palwal districts in Haryana on 27th January 2021. The internet was said to be shut till 5PM on 27th January originally but later the order was extended till 5PM on 28th January 2021. This was extended to many other districts, the total number being 17. The shutdown was completely lifted only after a period of more than 10 days on 6th February 2021 from all districts in Haryana.
Aggrieved by this, a petitioner moved to court as he was unable to work without internet or get medical services. The matter was heard on 9-02-2021. The matter was withdrawn as it was the opinion of the bench that it had become infructuous.