While directing the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, to allow a student with learning disability to continue with her post-graduate course for the second-year and declare her first-year results, the Bombay High Court (HC) has observed that “it would be in the interest of justice”. IIT-Bombay had, in August 2013, permitted the student to attend Master of Design course after the court directed it to carry out final admission procedures.
The Chembur resident, who has completed a year of the course, sought before a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha extension of the interim relief so that she could proceed with the second year of the course.
The court, on August 5, 2013, admitted the student’s petition when she made a grievance that there were seats available in the course, but the institute was denying her admission. IIT had contended that a candidate with learning disability could not be granted admission under the physically disabled (PD) category, according to the guidelines of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD).
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The girl had told the HC that on November 2011, she had filled an online form seeking admission to the course in the general category, as the PD category did not mention learning disability. She said she had secured 50 per cent in part-A of the entrance exam. While the eligibility cut-off in the general category was 62 per cent, it was 32 per cent in the PD category.
The student had questioned IIT-Bombay why learning disability like dyscalculia (difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic), that she suffers from, was not included in the PD category. Though IIT-Bombay, on January 4, asked her to fill a fresh form under the PD category, they later informed the girl that it only recognised physical disability (locomotor and cerebral palsy), as well as visual, hearing and speech impairment, in the PD category.
The girl had contended that she had learning disability, which is more than 40 per cent, and was, therefore, entitled to the benefit of three per cent reservation under Section 39 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
Her petition had argued that Symbiosis International University in Pune, where she completed her undergraduate studies, had given her the minimum pass percentage in a subject, owing to her learning disability.
After observing the arguments of both parties, the court, in an interim relief, asked IIT-Bombay to carry out the final admission procedure and the girl to deposit the fees for the first semester and attend classes. “It would be in the interest of justice that interim relief already granted to the petitioner be extended for the ensuing academic year at IIT-Bombay. Respondent (IIT) would allow the petitioner to attend the classes and also to appear for the examination,” ruled the bench on May 7. While directing IIT-B to declare her first-year results, the court said, “The petitioner’s results consequent to the examination will also be declared.”