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Supreme Court issues notice in plea of disabled student seeking seat in PG medical courses

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The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice in a plea filed by a student with locomotor disabilities desirous of obtaining a seat in PG medical courses challenging the parameters laid down in the Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 as amended by the Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations (Amendment), 2019.

The 3-judge bench of Dr Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Vikram Nath heard the matter and observed that, the petitioner was provisionally allotted a seat at Medical College Solapur, in all India quota; & grant Medical College in MD medicine in State Quota the provisional allotments which have been made to the Petitioner for MD medicine in Grant Medical College shall not be disturbed to her detriment & the Petitioner would be at liberty to participate in the counselling process.”

The petitioner is challenging Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations (Amendment) 2019 to amend Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations 2000, notification dated 13th March 2019 issued by the Board of Governors in super-session of the Medical Council of India pursuant to the powers conferred under Section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

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The 2019 Regulations have brought about a substantial change regarding the guidelines for admission to students with specified disabilities. A person with a disability of less than 40% is eligible for the medical course but not under the quota. Persons with disabilities between 40% to 80% are permitted for medical courses are eligible under the quota meant for persons with disability. Persons with more than 80% disability are not eligible for medical courses. However, if the disability is brought below 80% with the use of assisted devices, the same can be considered eligible.

Regarding the locomotor disability, the candidate must have both hands intact with intact sensation; sufficient strength and range of motions are essential to be considered eligible for a medical course.

The petitioner, Harshada Rane, has an upper limb congenital anomaly of left-hand index middle and ring finger with right-hand involvement certified as 40% disability. In 2011, the petitioner was denied admission to MBBS course thereafter, got the admission after the direction of Bombay High court. Presently, the petitioner is fighting for admission in PG medical course but when she applied for a certificate of disability as per the 2019 Regulations, she was given a certificate of having 40% disability and was held not eligible for admission. 

The petitioner was denied an opportunity to apply for seats reserved for students with a physical disability because they do not fall within the parameters laid down in the Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 as amended by the Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations (Amendment), 2019.

On the other hand, National Medical Commission submitted that the Medical Council of India, which is an expert body in the field of medical education with due consideration, has brought into force the Regulations of 2019 and the Supreme Court in the case of Purswani Ashutosh has in the context of persons with disability itself has observed that the Regulations be given primacy.

Also read: Delhi High Court refuses to entertain plea of Delhi OBC PG medical aspirants

There were 4 candidates with a disability who approached Bombay High court, as some of them has filed an interim application seeking to participate in the counselling process of NEET for post-Graduate Medical Courses, which was granted by the Bombay High Court and made it clear t if the Petitioners fail in the challenge, they will not claim any equity based on the ad-interim order. Therefore, the Bombay High court dismissed the writ petition.

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