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HC: Cannot allow disabled candidates same score concession as SC/ST students

In what might be a setback to thousands of physically challenged candidates looking to make careers in medicine,the Delhi High Court on Tuesday ruled that they cannot be given concession in qualifying marks...

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
July 7, 2010 1:16:47 am

In what might be a setback to thousands of physically challenged candidates looking to make careers in medicine,the Delhi High Court on Tuesday ruled that they cannot be given concession in qualifying marks similar to that of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) candidates for admissions in MBBS courses in the Capital.

Dismissing a couple of writ petitions filed by a candidate with over 60 per cent locomotive disability,a Division Bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Veena Birbal held that while disabled candidates already had a right of reservation in educational institutions,they could not be given the right to avail concession in the minimum standards prescribed by the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The court noted that though several seats were going waste despite the 3 per cent reservation for the physically challenged due to the candidates’ failure in securing the required 50 (now 45) per cent marks in the qualifying exams,it would rather stick to the legal dimensions of the case.

“For the present,it is sufficient for us to observe that insofar as physically disabled persons are concerned,they have a right to reservation,but there is no right to relaxation or a concession in the minimum standards. And unless and until such a right is established,no mandamus or writ can be issued to any authority to give them the relaxation or concession,” the Bench held.

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The writ was filed by Md Shah Afzal,who was denied admission in a Delhi University (DU) college for the MBBS course for failing to get 50 per cent marks in the the Delhi University Medical Entrance Test (DUMET) in 2008 and 2009. He contended before the authorities that the concession given to SC/ST candidates — they need to secure 40 per cent marks to qualify — should also be given to physical disabled candidates.

Afzal subsequently approached the Chief Commissioner under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities,Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act. The Commissioner then directed DU and the MCI to extend the relaxation to physically challenged candidates as well.

Afzal then approached the High Court and said the MCI had refused to obey the Commissioner’s directive even though the colleges failed to fill up the seats reserved for the physically challenged. Afzal further contended that other reputed institutions like the AIIMS and the IITs had gone ahead to provide disabled candidates the same concession for admission as given to SC/ST candidates.

The MCI also approached the court,saying the Commissioner had overstepped his jurisdiction by issuing directives to them.

The Bench then adjudicated the Commissioner’s order and the writ petitions on the basis of legal criteria and dismissed Afzal’s plea.

“Although we feel that physically disabled persons should be extended all rights,privileges and benefits under the said Act…,we do not agree that the petitioner,as of right,can claim parity with SC/ST candidates insofar as a relaxation in the minimum marks is concerned,” it held.

The court also set aside the Commissioner’s order,noting that his role was only recommendatory in nature and could not be binding upon the MCI. The Bench,however,asked the MCI and the Centre to give a “serious view” to whether disabled candidates could be allowed the same relaxation in marks as SC/ST candidates.

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