Sunday, February 5, 2023

Delhi University implementing authority for regulations on admission of disabled to medical courses: National Medical Commission to Delhi High Court

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The National Medical Commission has informed the Delhi High Court that Delhi University (DU) is the implementing authority for the regulations issued by the National Medical Commission, in response to plea filed by a medical aspirant, challenging a certificate which bars her from taking admission in medical courses under the disability category.

Advocate T. Singhdev, representing the NMC, urged the Division Bench led by Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Thursday, to implead DU in the array of parties.

In light of his submission, the matter was adjourned to September 17, to make necessary amendment to the memo of parties.

The court was hearing the petition filed through Advocate Mrinal Gopal Elker, by one Baibhavi Sharma, who suffers from ‘Left Congenital Transverse’ deficiency of elbow, but is able to perform all her day-to-day activities without any assistance.

The plea pointed out that General Medical Admission Regulations, 1997 was amended on May 14, 2019, introducing guidelines pertaining to admission in medical courses of students with ‘specified disabilities’ under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The said guidelines envisages that a person, under the category of ‘Locomotive Disability including specified disabilities’, with disability ranging between 40 percent to 80 percent, shall be eligible for Person with Disability (PwD) quota for admission to medical course.

However, an explanation to the specified disabilities under the aforementioned category lays down, “Both hands intact, with intact sensations, sufficient strength and range of motion” are essential conditions to be considered eligible for admission to medical course.

The plea asserts that having 65 percent of disability, the petitioner falls under the PwD category. She cleared the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-2020 and was allotted a seat in Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, for MBBS course under General PwD category. She was asked to produce the PwD certificate at the time of admission, which is to be obtained from designated centres.

Subsequently on November 11, 2020, she was issued a certificate by the Safdarjung Hospital, wherein she was certified to be 65 percent disabled, and the disability was specified as ‘Left Congenital Transverse deficiency of elbow’.

The concerned authority in the hospital, however, concluded that the petitioner is ineligible for admission in medical course, as per the Medical Council of India Gazette notification.

In light of the foregoing, the plea sought withdrawal or cancellation of the amended guidelines to the extent that it imposes additional condition of having “both hands intact, with intact sensations, sufficient strength and range of motion” to be considered eligible for admission to medical course; as also declaration of the same to be violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

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The plea further sought cancellation of certificate of disability dated November 11, 2020, which declared the petitioner to be ineligible for admission to medical course. In addition, the plea prayed for maintaining status quo in respect of the seat allotted to the petitioner.

“Limiting the possibilities of person with disability by enacting such superficial condition, which has no logical and cogent basis, is discriminatory in nature and thus in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution,” noted the petition.

“In the era of technological miracle, it is absolutely unfair to limit the possibilities in any person’s life by creating such discriminatory condition as is stipulated in the amended guidelines,” it added.

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