Discrimination against colour blindness continues to prevail in the medical fraternity despite the Supreme Court constituting a committee of experts to oversee the streams in which colour blind students can be allowed to pursue study; without their physical disability becoming a handicap. A recent case that has come to light, which is an indication of the prevailing discrimination against the colour blind is that of an Assistant Professor Government Medical College Hospital, Akola. The hospital is planning to terminate his services due to his partial visual impairment. Dr. Abhishek S. Goenka, Department of Microbiology, a colour blind employee of the hospital calls himself a victim of discrimination in this case reports the Wire.
Goenka certified with a 47% disability has worked his way up in the medical profession, despite suffering from Muscular Dystrophy. Instead of appreciating the man’s efforts of putting up a fight against his disability and overcoming it by acquiring a doctorate in Microbiology, the hospital authorities are believed to have decided to do away with his services, due to visual impairment. The approach of the hospital is being understood to be contrary to the sentiment expressed by the apex court on the issue.
Justices Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar, had also during a hearing earlier termed the Medical Council of India’s stand to not permit such students from pursuing medical courses as “regressive”.
Expressing a strong view against the exclusion of colour blind students from medical study, the judges had said: “The total exclusion for admission to medical courses without any stipulation in which they really can practise and render assistance would tantamount to regressive thinking.” The judges speaking about the stance taken on the partial visual impairment in other countries where students with the disability were allowed to pursue certain specializations had added ‘rules or guidelines to be followed in the matter in India also needed to be reviewed.’
This discriminatory incident has come up in less than two months after the apex education regulator decided to end this discrimination, following a recommendation from the Supreme Court-appointed committee of doctors, to lift the ban on people with colour vision deficiency (CVD).
Speaking to the Wire Goenka who has been with the hospital for the past three years said: “suddenly the system wants to terminate me on the grounds of colour blindness…” Speaking about the corruption prevailing in the granting of certification to the visually handicapped by the medical board, Goenka said: “after the SC judgement this corruption must stop”.
Stating that CVDs are not a stigma, Goenka said: “I am proud to have it without it affecting any of my abilities.” He wondered why he was being segregated now. “When I have once cleared my medical board for the same post, why again and again am I being harassed. When I am certified by my head for good work, why and who is the board to make (declare) me unfit.’
Meanwhile, the report at the time of joining had stated: “condition is permanent, non-progressive, not likely to improve”. The report also stated that reassessment of the disability was not called for. It further also noted the parts of his body which were impacted by the disorder.