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Delhi HC asks DU for data retention policy for exam answer sheets

The Delhi High Court has directed Delhi University to produce its policy on retention of data related to the open book exams, held online and offline, for final year undergraduate students held in August. The university has to also place on record its contract with the cloud service provider it has tied up with for storing examination data, including answer sheets, in order to address legal issues around data privacy of students.

The high court itself had allowed DU to conduct the open book exams, online and offline, in August, declining a petition by Anupam and Others to hold off on the exams. The court, however, had passed multiple directions addressing students’ concerns, including that question papers needed to be uploaded on the university’s website and emailed to students as well. DU was also told to give extra time to upload answer sheets and confirm their receipt via email.

In the same matter, Justice Pratibha M. Singh has said that DU’s needs to produce the data retention policy of answer scripts in both physical and electronic forms. The petition had challenged the procedure adopted by DU for the online exams. The petitioners had argued that online exams were discriminatory for students who do not have computers and those living under quarantine zones. At the time, DU’s lawyers had told the court that it was the best way to conduct exams and that students did not need high tech as their disposal.

The court has also asked the university for data regarding the exams, such as how many students took them, among other details. According to the Hindustan Times, 35,000 students took exams in the first phase held on August 10. Many students reportedly faced glitches, most students did not get a notice of receipt of answer sheets; others faced issues while uploading PDFs of their answers, such as pages getting blurred and so on.

The court will now hear the matter on November 18.

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