Seventeen-year-old Amit Kumar was thrilled to have secured the 113th rank in the IIT-JEE this year under the general physically disabled category.
He had a disability certificate from Darbhanga Medical College and a letter from the civil surgeon of his hometown Sitamarhi in Bihar. The certificate stated that Kumar has 40 per cent disability.
The IIT-Delhi,however,refused him admission after he cleared the entrance test as its 13-member medical board from AIIMS,headed by Dr R C Deka,examined Kumar and noted that he had only 23 per cent locomotive problems.
Under the Indian Disability Act of 1995,23 per cent disability does not qualify for the handicapped quota.
Kumar has now decided to move court.
IIT-Delhi officials claim this is the first such case in the physically handicapped category of the JEE.
Speaking to Newsline,Kumar called the IIT decision unfair. I was allowed to sit for the entrance exam under the physically handicapped category on the basis of my disability certificates. How can they declare the certification baseless,when they allowed me to apply under that category, he asked.
Kumars lawyer Ashok Aggarwal said,His certificate is given by an authorised government hospital. He also has a supplementary letter from the district surgeon who is a gazetted officer. Under the Disability Act,a certified government medical college can give disability certificates which should be considered valid for all government educational institutions.
IIT-JEE chairperson Dr G B Reddy said the IIT policy had been advertised and if the candidate had a problem,he should have protested earlier.
Our policy is very clear and has been the same since the institution of the IITs. In all our advertisements,we have maintained that our own medical board,comprising AIIMS doctors,will have the final word in certifying disability. The candidate participated,and even appeared for the counselling,without protesting against this. Why is he reacting only because he was not selected? said Dr Reddy.
A 2003 judgment by the Delhi High Court,under the bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen,had given the upper hand to medical boards of government medical colleges vis-a-vis those constituted by institutions on authorisation of disability in the case of Dr Raman Khanna Vs University of Delhi.
Until 2005,10 years after the institution of the Disability Act,the Delhi High Court had ordered the government to issue proper guidelines to identify disabilities and authorise government institutions to provide disability certificates.
Kumars disability certificate from Darbhanga Medical College,issued on August 6,2005,states his diagnosis to be orthopedically handicapped due to stiffness of knee and hip. He is suffering from multiple exostoses.
Exostoses is a condition when there are unnatural lumps in the bones of the child,which cause immense pain while walking.
A doctor who was part of the AIIMS medical board for IIT said: The problem in our country is the absence of proper guidelines to define the extent of disability,as per the patients disorder. What may be seen as 50 per cent disability by one board,another can be only 20 per cent. In Amits case,his condition may even improve after surgery,but that has not been considered by the previous board.