'Ex-Students Reappearing In Exams Not A Right': HC Upholds DU's Centenary Policy

'Ex-Students Reappearing In Exams Not A Right': HC Upholds DU's Centenary Policy

The Centenary Chance Special Examination Phase II issued by Delhi University is a notification, by which the ex-students, who had undertaken undergraduate/ postgraduate/ professional courses in the varsity, were given a second chance to repeat the papers that they were yet to clear.

PTIUpdated: Thursday, May 23, 2024, 02:45 PM IST
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Delhi University | File Photo

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has observed that the Delhi University's (DU) centenary chances provided to the ex-students to reappear in the examinations they have not yet cleared were not a matter of "right".

Observation Of The Delhi High Court

The high court said the decisions of the varsity to grant a centenary chance and the terms on which it is to be granted are matters belonging to the realm of pure academic policy.

"The centenary chances were not a matter of right. Neither did any candidate, who had failed to clear all papers within the maximum span period of the course, have a right to seek a further chance to clear the papers, nor did the DU have any obligation to provide any such chance.

"Both centenary chances were beneficial dispensations provided by the DU suo motu as it were, as part of its centenary celebrations. They were, therefore, in the nature of a benefice, not a right," Justice C Hari Shankar said.

The high court said the terms on which such a benefit was to be extended to the ex-students were also a matter entirely within the DU's province and there was no legally enforceable obligation on the varsity to provide any centenary chance.

About The Centenary Chance Special Examination Phase II

The court was hearing a petition challenging the April 1, 2024 notification issued by the DU, dealing with the Centenary Chance Special Examination Phase II, by which the ex-students, who had undertaken undergraduate/ postgraduate/ professional courses in the varsity, were given a second chance to repeat the papers which they were yet to clear.

Court Dismisses The Petition

The court dismissed the petition saying it was not a case for issuance of notice. The petitioner, who was a student of the Campus Law Centre (CLC) where she underwent her LLB course from 2009 to 2012, was aggrieved by the fact that in this second centenary chance, the students were allowed to reattempt only a maximum of four papers.

Her grievance was that as the students were given a chance only to attempt four papers in the second centenary examination, she would still be left with two papers to clear.

Her counsel's contention was that as the very purpose of granting a centenary chance was to permit the ex-students to clear their backlogs, each centenary chance should give an opportunity to the students to attempt all remaining papers.

Delhi High Court's Decision

The high court said if the university decided to allow all the papers to be reattempted in the first centenary chance and restricted the second centenary chance to four papers, it was no more than the legitimate exercise of the discretion vested in the DU in that regard.

There being no right in the petitioner to even insist on any centenary chance in the first place, the petitioner can certainly not plead any right to attempt all the backlog papers in either centenary chance, it said.

The court said it is well-settled that in matters of academic policy, the courts have to be extremely slow in interfering and the notification was clearly a pure policy decision and the decision to restrict the number of papers that can be attempted in the second centenary attempt to four is obviously a decision which was taken by the university for legitimate reasons.

"No prima facie case of arbitrariness or invalidity of such policy has been made out either in the writ petition or during the course of oral arguments.

"In such matters, this court is of the view that even issuing of notice must be circumspect. If academic bodies are made answerable to the court regarding every policy decision that they take, it would severely affect their autonomy and freedom of administration," it said.

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