The Delhi High Court Monday directed the Delhi University to issue within seven working days digital degree certificates to students who have already graduated and urgently require the document for taking admission in a foreign university or for employment.
Getting a degree is an event for a student but it has really become a torture, Justice Prathiba M Singh said.The high court was unhappy that despite its earlier order, the varsity was not issuing digital degrees to pass out students and was demanding physical copy of proofs attached in the email requesting issuance of the document.
The judge also observed that there was lack of coordination between the Delhi University and its lawyers who were not being given proper instructions by the varsity. Justice Singh directed the university to place before it separately, the timeline by when digital degrees will be issued on urgent and non-urgent requests.
The high court said the students who have already made urgent requests for a digital degree on DU’s website, shall again send an email to the varsity and attach any document stating the urgency, including admission in foreign university or employment purpose.
For such students, digital degree certificates be issued within seven working days. Requirement for physical copy of the documents be removed with immediate effect, Justice Singh said. The high court was informed that till now 30,000 students have given requests on the varsity’s portal for digital degree certificates.
It noted that earlier it was informed by the Dean (Examinations) Professor Vinay Gupta and Joint Director of Delhi University Computer Centre (DUCC) Dr Sanjeev Singh, that all the data of students up till November 2019 was available with the varsity.
However, on Monday, it was informed that the university only has data of students till 2017. This is a completely messed up situation. There is no data of 2018 and 2019, the high court remarked.
Earlier on August 7, the high court 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 http://www.digicerti.du.ac.in 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 September 2, 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 bachelors 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.
On Monday, the court was informed that data of 28,000 students which constitute half of the students who graduated in 2017 have been uploaded on DigiLocker’, an initiative by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).
However, to access it, students’ date of birth is required and DU is yet to obtain it from respective colleges, the court noted.
A DU official told the court that he had a meeting with the principals of all the colleges and they will give the data of students of 2018 and 2019 batches in next 4 and 10 days respectively.
When DU’s counsel said it was not possible to issue digital degrees to all the students in one stretch and for now, they can do it for the urgent ones, the court remarked This happens when you don’t issue degrees to students on time annually.
The high court listed the matter for further hearing on September 11, before which the varsity has to place on record an affidavit.
It also asked the three DU officials, who were there in the hearing, to be present on the next date along with Dean (Examinations).
Advocate Sarthak Maggon, representing petitioner Dhritiman Ray on whose plea the earlier order on issuance of digital degree was passed, said he has received his digital degree certificate on September 3.
He said he has received calls from around 80 students who have applied for digital degrees but have not received it.
The high court had earlier said the purpose of directing issuance of the certificates digitally and through an online mechanism was to dispense with the need for 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.
Source: The Print