Thursday, June 2, 2016

HC Order fail to bring relief to disabled MBBS aspirant this year despite clearing NEET [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

In the instant case, the Hon'ble Delhi High Court, in a matter of discrimination on the grounds of disability, the petitioner not only failed to get any practical relief while she missed her crucial year of MBBS even after clearing NEET Examination but also the stipulation that only persons up to 70% disability can be considered for MBBS course remained unchallenged. 

Thus in fact, this case can not be used by any other candidate with a disability  to seek admission in MBBS if he has more than 70% disability. The petitioner has to clear the NEET exam all over again next year thereby wasting her crucial year of life which can never be replenished to her. Is it true justice? Were respondent burdened with any cost for this lapse? How can the petitioner with 80% disability be considered next year again under the same rules that debar a candidate above 70%? What is the guarantee that her percentage of disability will not be used by the respondent to once again to deny her the seat even if she has the perseverance to clear the NEET the next year?

Brief of the case. 

The petitioner, Ms. Sanjana Sinha, when she was seventeen, had undergone amputation of her left leg, and got an artificial leg/prosthetic limb fitted, her disability adjudged as 80%. After qualifying NEET examination, she applied to Faculty of Medical Sciences for admission to MBBS course against the seats reserved for persons with disabilities. 

Although initially she found her name in the merit list and rank list, later she was declared not eligible for admission to MBBS due to her disability, which is 80%. The petitioner challenged this through the Writ petition, by contending that with the external aid/prosthetic limb her disability is less than 70%, within the prescribed range. The petitioner did not challenge the rule limiting the eligibility to 70%!

Division Bench comprising of Justices V. Kameswar Rao and Badar Durrez Ahmed observed “A welfare legislation…… needs to be given a purposive interpretation, inasmuch as to give benefit to a person with disability so that he/she don’t feel less privileged than a normal person. Moreover, we find that the petitioner has a brilliant academic carrier and has also qualified the NEET examination but for the disability, she would have got the admission in the course.” 

The Court also observed that having disability of 80% is a more appropriate case to be given benefit of the Act, since with the external aid/prosthetic limb, the disability would come within the range as permissible under the Regulation i.e. between 40/50-70. 

The Court allowed the Writ petition in following terms: “We may only state here that the petitioner was a successful candidate for the academic year starting 2013-2014. At this point of time, no direction can be issued to give admission to the petitioner on the basis of the said examination. The only direction that can be given is, in view of our discussion, the respondent shall not deny admission to the petitioner if she is successful in a future NEET examination on the ground that she has a disability of 80%.”

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