Let disabled candidate join MBBS course without giving NEET: Madras HC tells State
Chennai: Setting aside a single judge order, the Madras High Court has directed the state government to admit a differently-abled MBBS aspirant to the course without insisting that she write the NEET exam.
A division bench, comprising Justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and K Kalyanasundaram, gave the directive while setting aside the order of a single judge in 2016.
The single judge had rejected her appeal, taking into consideration an expert committee's report that she was not eligible because of 80 per cent disability.
"We are of the view that the candidate who had applied for MBBS during 2016-17 was eligible and entitled to get admission. But due to the improper consideration of her case, she has already lost two years," the court said.
Noting that during 2016-2017, passing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exam for pursuing medical course was not mandatory, the bench said that if her case was now rejected on that ground, it would be difficult for her to take the NEET for no wrong committed by her.
Petitioner K Nandhinee submitted that she belongs to backward-class and has permanent-disability in her lower limbs. She secured 1,018 out of 1,200 marks in the higher secondary course and applied for admission for MBBS based on the prospectus issued by the selection committee for 2016-17.
The Medical Board assessed her disability at 70 percent, (orthopedically handicapped) whereas doctors in the expert committee during counseling assessed it at 80 percent and declared her ineligible, as her disability was more than the percentage prescribed in the prospectus for admission.
TOI reports that when she was issued a disability certificate by a District Medical Board constituted under the provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity for Protection of Rights of Full Participation) Act, her application ought not to have been rejected by citing the disability certificate of the Expert Committee, she contended.
Subsequently, the candidate moved the high court, but a single judge dismissed it. Challenging this, she filed an appeal.
The higher bench noted that the clause 41 (iii) (a) of the prospectus further proceeds that in case candidates were not available in that category, then candidates with disability of lower limbs between 40 percent and 50 percent may be considered. When that is so, higher disability of lower limbs at 80 percent will not disentitle the appellant pursuing her medical course, according to a recent report by Deccan Chronicle.
"The appellant can very well attend the college and complete her medical course with some artificial aid. But, the same has not been taken into consideration during selection by the authorities. Without appreciating the said proposition, the single judge has dismissed the petition", the bench concluded.
The division bench said though the appellant has 80 percent disability in her lower limbs, she is eligible to get the seat as the disability would in no way affect her in pursuing her studies.
She can complete her course with some artificial aid, the bench added, while ordering the government to allow her to pursue the course.