New Delhi: A 95.08 percentile scorer in NEET 2018, and medical aspirant with a hearing impairment has been rescued by the Delhi High Court, which responding to the student’s petition has given directions to the Medical Council of India and the Centre to allow her to participate in the MBBS admission counselling process to enroll for MBBS/BDS courses.
The court also made sharp observations on the disability rules followed by the Medical Council of India calling them “abhorrent to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and to the provisions of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016”.
The case concerns a Medical Aspirant with 70% hearing disability who had secured 95.077883 percentile score in the NEET (UG) – 2018 and her overall rank category rank and category-PH Rank were 62153, 34080 and 29 respectively. Pursuant thereto, on the basis of her academic excellence, the benchmark disability and the disability certificate, the petitioner was issued a provisional allotment letter (round I) and advised to report and join the Sardar Patel Medical College, Bikaner. However, she was later denied admission on the basis of her disability.
Justifying the denial before the court, the counsel for the MCI stated that the persons with specified benchmark disabilities, such as the petitioner, who suffer from hearing impairment, in terms of the impugned report published by them, cannot be permitted to participate in the admission process to the course of MBBS. The counsel also highlighted before the court many previous judgments in this regard.
The court reiterated recommendations of the Expert Committee set up by the Medical Council of India (for short ‘MCI’) on candidates with the specified benchmark disability of impairment of hearing, whereby they have determined as follows :-
“ In view of the competencies that cannot be completely or partially acquired by a person with auditory disability, a provision be incorporated in the Graduate Medical Education Regulations that persons with auditory disability greater than set bench mark of 40% are not entitled to pursue Graduate Medical Education.”
The court stated that it is an admitted position that, the aforesaid recommendation has not yet attained finality and is pending consideration before the Central Government.
Completely disagreeing with the stand of the MCI The court termed the recommendations of the MCI expert committee as “abhorrent to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and to the provisions of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016”.
Justice Siddharth Mridul observed that the Disabilities Act came into being to give effect to the UN Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India was a signatory. “The Preamble to the said Act does not permit for any deviation from the stated objective, namely, to accord respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, freedom of choice, right against non-discrimination, full and effective participation in society and equal opportunities in all walks of life… to persons who are differently abled,” the Judge noted.
In this view of the matter, I am of the considered view that prima facie, the recommendations of the Committee set up by the MCI, disentitling persons with specified benchmark disability from pursuing under graduate medical education are abhorrent to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and to the provisions of the said Act.
Consequently, I have no hesitation in directing the official respondent to direct the petitioner to participate in the counselling for the MBBS course for the academic session 2018-2019, at a medical college, in terms of the rank secured by her in the NEET – 2018, under the physically handicapped category and to reserve a seat for her in MBBS course for the said session.
The court gave directions for the minor who had filed a writ through her father to be allowed to appear for counseling for the MBBS course for the academic year 2018-19 in the physically handicapped category. The girl is said to have a hearing disability beyond 70%.