Students complain DU not issuing digital degrees, HC calls for data

Students complain DU not issuing digital degrees, HC calls for data
Press Trust of India | Sep 3, 2020 - 2:54 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi University to submit the data relating to the number of students who have applied online for seeking digital degree certificates and figures of such certificates which have been issued.

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The high court’s direction came on being informed that despite judicial order, students have not been issued digital degrees by the varsity. “This is completely violative of the order of this court.The timelines as set out in the order dated August 7 shall be adhered to strictly by DU,” Justice Prathiba M Singh said. The high court directed the university to issue digital degree certificates of the two students, who filed the pleas, before September 7.

“In the affidavit to be filed by the DU, the data relating to the number of students who have applied online for seeking digital degree certificates and the number of digital degree certificates issued online shall be clearly mentioned,” the judge said.

The high court also directed Dr Sanjeev Singh, Joint Director of Delhi University Computer Centre (DUCC), to join the proceedings by video conference on September 7.

DU digital degrees

The high court on August 7 had passed an order on a bunch of petitions, putting in place a proper procedure for issuance of degree certificates through an online mechanism to ensure that delay in printing of degree certificates does not become an impediment to students who need it.

It had then recorded satisfaction in respect of the digital certificate that was filed by DU and noted that an online platform was also created for enabling students to apply for issuance of such certificates.

It had directed that DU shall ensure that students’ digital degree certificates are issued within a period of one week from registration. However, on Wednesday the high court was informed by final year law student Shubham Kumar Jain that he had graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce, DU in 2017 and was seeking a digital degree for the bachelor's course which has still not been issued.

He submitted that despite the online submission of the application for issuance of digital degree certificate and completion of all formalities, the university was insisting on physical submission of a hard copy of the application.

He said he has applied for the digital degree on August 14, but it has not been issued. Advocate Sarthak Maggon, representing petitioner Dhritiman Ray on whose plea the earlier order on the issuance of the digital degree was passed, said even he has not yet got his digital degree certificate. He said he has received more than 30 calls from the students who are similarly situated.

Physical submission of documents

The high court said the purpose of directing issuance of the certificates digitally and through an online mechanism was to dispense with the need for the physical presence of students at the university during the COVID-19 pandemic and also to streamline the process for students who are not in Delhi and need the document either for employment or for further educational purposes.

The high court said as per the August 7 order, it was clear that after registering on the portal, the digital degree certificates have to be issued within one week and the insistence on the physical filing of the same documents which are submitted online, defeats the entire purpose of the order.

“It is made clear that DU shall not insist on submission of hard copies of the application or other related documents, for the purpose of issuing digital degree certificates. Insisting on the submission of a hard copy would again set the whole process at nought and create further inefficiencies.

It would also force students to visit the university, which ought to be completely avoided,” Justice Singh said. The judge noted that earlier the senior officials of DU had informed it that the data of all students who have graduated till November 2019 is available with the university and had assured that online filing would be sufficient.

“There is no permissibility for DU to insist on the physical filing of documents. Accordingly, the verification of the applications, which have been filed online for digital degree certificates, shall be done on the basis of online filing.

Insistence on the physical presence of the students or the submission of hard copies would be contrary to the order dated August 7. Let a reply to this application be filed before the next date,” it said.

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